A Bad Boss Can Send You to an Early Grave

It seems there’s always a steady supply of sympathy available for anyone stuck working under a bad boss. Most everyone has been there at one time or another, working under a tyrant who somehow manages to survive in this world without people skills, said author Travis Bradberry, president of global think tank and consulting company TalentSmart.
According to a recent study published in Human Resource Executive magazine, a third of U.S. workers spend a minimum of 20 hours a month at work complaining about their boss. The Gallup Poll estimates U.S. corporations lose $360 billion annually due to lost productivity from employees who are dissatisfied with their boss, Bradberry said.
“In the days of a strong dollar, bulging tech bubble and robust housing market, people working for a bad boss had options,” Bradberry said. “Careers were mobile and talent was in short supply. It was a snap to pack up and leave. Nowadays, things are decidedly different. Jobs are scarce and the prudent worker stays put, even if he or she is working under the worst type of boss imaginable — the seagull manager.”
The roots of “seagull management” can be traced back to the days when “micromanager” was the worst non-expletive anyone could utter behind the boss’ back. Managers’ fear of this label grew so intense that they learned to keep their distance from employees, assuming a “good” boss is one who spends as little time as possible breathing down people’s necks. And most do. They give people room to breath until the moment a problem flares up.
Then — instead of getting the facts straight and working alongside their staff to realize a viable solution — seagull managers come swooping in at the last minute, they squawk orders at everybody, and deposit steaming piles of formulaic advice before abruptly taking off, Bradberry said.
“Seagull managers interact with their employees only when there’s a fire to put out. Even then, they move in and out so hastily — and put so little thought into their approach — that they make bad situations worse by frustrating and alienating those who need them the most,” he said.
Bradberry suggested doing three things to avoid the “deadliest” seagull behaviors:
1. Communicate with the boss early and often. Keeping the boss in the loop short circuits the “swoop.” Daily communication on routine matters is important.
2. Build support for ideas by explaining the rationale and benefits up front. Even the worst boss will be more apt to listen when he or she can see the benefits of a new way of doing things.
3. Let the boss know there needs to be positive and constructive feedback. After completing projects, ask the boss what went well and what could be improved.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?