“I hate my boss.” Those were the words I overheard a young lady in the café booth next to me utter to her friend as they sipped coffee and plotted her next career move. I’m not normally an eavesdropper, but this particular line caught my attention for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’ve said those words a few times over the course of my career. I can think of a former boss or two who won’t be invited to my next cookout. Secondly, it seems that I’m hearing those words come from more and more people these days.
One of my current entrepreneurial endeavors is to help job seekers to hone their interviewing skills. During those sessions, many times the discussion surrounding communications skills often evolves into a support group for people who are leaving their job for a reason that’s becoming epidemic; they can’t stand the sight of their horrible boss.
In an age where job expectations keep going up and pay remains flat (if not goes down), it would make sense that those in leadership / management roles would be taking an approach designed to make their subordinates feel better about themselves so they might work a little harder or stick around a little longer. The lack of adequate leadership skills by many is unfortunately causing many highly competent people to flee their current role in favor of either greener pastures or, many times, any pasture at all as long as it’s far away from the miserable wretches who are causing such turmoil.
What is it that causes those who should feel fortunate to be called “boss” to behave in such a way that causes their employees to 1) lose confidence in themselves 2) feel anxious at the sight of their boss’s name appearing on the phone or 3) begin to dread the onset of Monday morning at some point on Saturday afternoon?
My guess is this; many people who are elevated to positions of responsibility over others were, at some point, successful at what they did. They were most likely not, however, fully prepared for the next step in their career. Somewhere, deep down inside, they know that and they live in extreme fear that they will, at some point, be exposed as being incompetent. In the interim, however, they prop up their fragile egos by tearing others down. Eventually, that type of “leadership” often results in their employees saying things like, “I hate my boss.” Soon thereafter, the words “I quit” are delivered. Not a happy ending and certainly not a productive one.