Articles about how supervisors and managers can earn the respectful affection of their workers are a dime a dozen. 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 you. 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!
Bringing your mental/emotional instability into your strategy to help workers hate you
I’ve listened to stories about really hated bosses and managers for years, and during that time it was not hard to attribute the behaviors that inspired the hatred of their workers into 7 categories. Here are the first 6.
- Unprofessional Conduct
- General Incompetence for the Job
- Thoughtless Inconsideration
- Poor Communication and Social Skills
- Manipulative or Disingenuous Management Style
For anyone wanting to earn the championship title of the Hated Boss Competition, the list above provides some never-miss arrows for your quiver. But I’ve saved the best for last:
7. Mental/Emotional Instability
In a nutshell: Screaming reprimands. Accusations based on suspicion and paranoia. Creepy work relationships. Project your self-loathing onto everyone else and interact appropriately. Bring your personal problems to the workplace and take them out on everybody there. It’s not hard to figure it out as you go!
Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to be emotionally unstable, you just have to act like you are. Here’s how I have observed some people do it… (Yes, real examples here.)
In a fit of rage, fire an employee. After you calm down, as the fired worker is cleaning out his or her things, call them back to your office apologize and tell them they are not really fired. Do this regularly. This behavior goes a long way toward inspiring true contempt among all the employees.
Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
Make sure that you incorporate extreme swings of mood into your day-to-day management behavior, based on what’s happening in your life. This is a very common tactic used by many hated bosses. But here is an “expert tip.” Friend your workers on Facebook and “train” them to study all your posts for clues about what your mood is likely to be the following day. If they see positive posts they know it’s safe to plan on a good day. If your posts are angry or cynical or a rant about something, they know to dig in and stay out of sight. Then…throw them a curve. Post about the beautiful butterflies in your backyard to get them off their guard, then roar in the next day like a Banshee, screaming orders like it’s an Afghan outpost under rocket attack. They’ll tremble for an hour.
Choose some ridiculously trivial issue and be completely obsessive about it. It could be about anything: the arrangement of the coffee cups in the break area, the precise volume for the workplace radio, the thermostat setting, grammar used in memos, etc, etc. In order for this strategy to have the maximum effect, impose a “3-strikes” policy, and include your trivial and obsessive rules in the list of things employees can be written up for.
On a regular basis, schedule “optional” projects during off-hours. Make sure to drop plenty of hints that, although these pet projects of yours are “optional,” participation or non-participation will help you decide how to distribute workplace favors and attention.
Get a Mole
After noting that workplace conversation often stops or suddenly switches subjects when you enter the area, call in the last person hired and offer them a special “assignment.” Tell them that workplace morale’ is a vital factor in productivity, and that you would like to receive regular, confidential briefings about what the employees are saying about you. Assure them that there will be a special bonus for them for their service to the company. Yup…lots of hated bosses have done this.
Possible expressions of mental/emotional illness, paranoia, etc, are endless, limited only by your imagination. This strategy is one of the most effective in creating a workplace where the employees are happy to hate the boss. In fact, this strategy is the one most likely to earn you a less-than-flattering nickname among your workers.
Keep up the good work as long as you can!
In the meantime, in case you missed them, here are the previous 7 posts in this series:
Click here for a complete catalog of my blog posts with a brief description of their content.