• 15th July 2006 - By proteman

    Maybe you’ve worked for this boss. Maybe you are this boss (and don’t realize it). Or maybe you’ve quietly simmered as you’ve watched this boss get promoted, rewarded or just forgiven for his or her steamroller management approach or piercing comments to subordinates.

    If you’re in the training or HR profession, you’ve probably been asked at some point to rehabilitate this manager by sending him or her to a magical training session (aka: charm school for interpersonally-challenged leaders) that will teach them how to play nicely with others. This is usually a reaction to employee complaints, a negative 360 feedback survey, or extremely high turnover in the department or division.

    My point is that we’ve all seen managers from hell…the “Teflon leaders” who, despite their lack of interpersonal skills or empathy for others, still seem to climb the corporate ladder and receive positive recognition.

    In severe cases, managers like these need years of therapy, not a training session or executive coach. Training or coaching only helps when the leader:

    - Has the ability (Emotional Intelligence) to change and empathize with others.
    - Wants to change and sees a painful consequence for not changing.

    When these two conditions don’t exist, no amount of training, coaching or executive development will help. Therapy probably won’t help either, but it’s a start.

    For fun, below are a few links to movies about bosses from hell. They’re extreme, but really illustrate in a funny, dark way how abusive leaders can rise to the top – and make life painful for the people who report to them. They also show how these leaders’ dysfunctional styles have domino effects through their organizations…creating extremely dysfunctional behavior among their staffs who desperately try to survive and guess their bosses’ next moves.

    Devil Wears Prada

    Swimming with Sharks

    Glenngarry Glen Ross

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