The Power of Stupidity to Generate Contempt
Modern media is glutted with articles about how supervisors and managers can earn the respectful affection of their workers as a means to boost efficiency and productivity. Since I’m addressing a very tiny niche here, I want to talk to those of you who are convinced that people work better when they hate the boss. I know you’re out there! I’ve seen your work! (The rest of you can listen in and learn what you can.) These are things I’ve observed from the best (or, the worst, as the case may be). Every example I include is real, and they are all effective strategies to make your people hate you!
Incompetence in your strategy to help your workers hate you…
This strategy works, but it’s tricky! In order for incompetence to be an effective strategy for inspiring your employees to hate you, it must be accompanied by a sufficient measure of arrogance. Benevolent, “sorry-about-that” bumbling that leaves behind any impression that you are teachable is likely to inspire only irritation, and not the disgust you’re going for.
Here are some really excellent ways to convince your workers that you don’t know what you are doing. Remember to do them with an attitude that says, “I’m much smarter than you. That’s why I’m the boss.”
Fill the time of your most skilled workers with menial busywork. Using human resources in the most utterly inefficient way possible is a great way to establish your incompetence.
Micro-manage all their work. Nothing says, “I don’t trust you or think you’re smart enough to do this on your own,” like looking over their shoulder all day. Nothing reeks of management incompetence like sweating every detail of everyone else’s job.
Go Ballistic…With Style!
Listen to their phone conversations with a client from around the corner. When you hear something being said that you feel is contrary to your instructions in some detail, burst out in a panic, waving your hands like an umpire calling ‘safe!’ As you do, franticly shake your head back and forth while silently mouthing “NO! NO! NO!” over and over. After the flustered employee brings the call to an abrupt and awkward end, turn and bang your head against the door frame. Yup…really happened just as described. Doing this will make you look like an idiot, worthy of complete contempt, while confusing and humiliating the worker on the phone. Any time your employees have to wonder whether you’re serious or trying to be a clown, you have a problem.
We Talked About That!
Have a meeting to establish new procedures and rules. Then fail to execute them and never mention it again. Management competence is all about follow-through. Substituting the mere intention for the action is a trait that many “former” managers share.
What’re Ya’ Thinkin’?
Have weekly 45 minute staff meetings about “not wasting time.” This one is right up there with the 2 page paper memo about conserving office supplies and dropping hints in the break room about who was about to be written up for “gossip.”
Everything’s a Crisis
Wring your hands and huff and puff and race breathlessly around the office as if everything was a disaster or emergency. Constantly being in “crisis mode” over everyday challenges paints a picture of someone who is out of their league. No, it doesn’t make you look busy and responsible.
Expect a Miracle…Every Time
Habitually underestimate the time needed to accomplish projects, then punish employees for not getting it done in your time frame. This quickly establishes that you know nothing about the work you are overseeing.
As Long As There’s Someone to Blame
Whenever something goes wrong, focus on who’s to blame as much or more as on solving the problem. True management competence puts the primary focus on solving problems, not pointing fingers.
Don’t Need No Stinking Training
If the opportunity arises, when flyers advertising management training programs arrive in your mail, be sure to toss them ceremoniously into the trash with an arrogant comment to the effect that you “know everything about that stuff already.”
If you are truly intent on helping your people hate you, then you will find the above tips invaluable. Watch for the next in the series, entitled: “Inconsiderate Management Strategies to Help Your People Hate You!”
This is the 3rd post in a “tongue-in-cheek” series about tactics that bosses employ to ensure their people hate them. If you missed the first two of the series, you can read them here:
And watch for the next in this series, entitled “Communication and Social Skills are for Wimps.”
Click here for a complete catalog of my blog posts with a brief description of their content.