Thanks to Charles Wright over at Bleeding Edge for
pointing out this
New York Times article which discusses fear in the workplace and the bullying boss.
“It got to where I was twitching, literally, on the way into work,” said Carrie Clark, 52, a
former teacher and school administrator in Sacramento, Calif., who said her boss of several years ago baited
and insulted her for 10 months before she left the job. “I had to take care of my health.”
That’s a topic we’re passionate about and we will visit often at chriscurnow.com.
See the “Three Cars…” posts in this blog (I hope I eventually get time to
The article however, presents some strong research evidence to counter some
deeply held views of mine.
I don’t like bullies and I don’t like bullying bosses.
In my consultancy practice, I try to show that bullying is counter-productive.
It makes intuitive sense. The boss bullies the employees and the employees don’t
do such good work either because they try to get back at the boss, or they are
just not happy and unhappiness doesn’t produce good productivity.
Well, if the research produced in this article is correct (and I am yet to
be absolutely convinced that it is), we can kiss goodbye to that theory. Several
researches have found little correlation between bullying and productivity.
At least that supports another pet theory of mine – contrary to the views of
many employer groups that I hear often – the vast majority of employees come
to work to do a good day’s work for a good (or otherwise) day’s pay.
In my heart I am still convinced that where all the variables are taken into
account the effect of a bullying boss is negative on the organisation on most
The NYT article goes into depth on several aspects of the bullying boss, including
that guilty nice feeling we’ve all experienced when someone else ‘get’s it’
meaning we’re safe for the day. Also included is the phenomenom where we are
happy to see someone else on the receiving end because it might mean they get
fired or leave – opening up that promotion position for ourselves. Almost the
whole range of motives, reactions and human frailties are examine here nad I
recommend it for your reading list.