Bully Bosses Fueled By Insecurity

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 19, 2009

"You can't just look at what they look like on paper," Fast tells HealthLeaders Media. "You definitely need to make sure that in an interpersonal setting they can convey a sense of competence and that they seem to have a sense of self worth and confidence that will serve them well on the job."

"Secondly, companies can ease people into positions of leadership so they feel prepared and they aren't just thrown into it in one shot," Fast says.

"Third, make sure that managers know that it's normal to feel inadequate from time to time. It's part of the job and comes with the territory. If it is normalized in that way then perhaps they won't be so threatening to them when they feel inadequate," he says.

"Finally, assigning mentors would be a great idea and a lot of companies to this. They have new managers paired with senior managers so they can go to them for help and advice and they don't feel like they are alone in their new role," Fast says.

It is easy to inject humor in a topic like this, because everybody at some point in their lives (if they're lucky only one point!) has had a boss from hell. But the underlying issue is all too serious. Bad bosses invariably create a bunker mentality at the workplace that robs subordinates of any sense of initiative and enthusiasm. The workplace attitude becomes: Why strive to improve when your successes won't be acknowledged and your failures will be broadcast, and never forgotten? The motivation becomes: How do I get out of here?

Healthcare has enough problems finding adequate, competent staff for vitally important work. Their jobs shouldn't have to be made any more difficult with a bully boss.

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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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