Many critiques of the modern day working culture have argued that the employment and bureaucracy found in the modern business organization is a form of today’s slavery. They are of the opinion that employee’s constant supervision and the lingering threat of being sacked makes them act or work not because they feel motivated, but because of the fear of unemployment. The classical school of thought believed that employees of an organization would work maximally if provided with the optimal condition of the working environment. This school of thought ignored to a greater extent the notion of human rights and motivation to employees that would make them work out of self-will rather than being pushed around. The believers of this school of thought were of the opinion that salary and wages alone were enough in motivating workers. They believed that constant supervision and strict adherence to the rule of law was ideal in propelling the company towards its set objective.
The coming of age of trade unions has at least helped in bringing ethics and human dignity in the workplace although many bosses have been faced with the constant problem of balancing business supervision with desired measure. Excessive guidance amounts to harassment and unfair intrusion of the normal working of employees. Proper handling of employees’ situations to many managers and bosses has been problematic.
The issue of unfair and abusive bosses has all along been a problem and a stumbling in block in the achievement of organizations’ goals. Some of people who have been assigned managerial responsibilities in the workplace can prove to be overwhelmed by the demand of the work. This may make them become overly overbearing and even excessively reliant on power to the point of abuse. Unfair bosses have been known to misuse their power by interfering with employees’ performance through humiliation, intimidation as well as threat. Other forms of harassment include embarrassment and humiliation in front of other employees, use of physical aggressiveness, verbal threats, and vicious criticism. These sum up to create a very disillusioned workforce that is psychologically detached from the organization instead of being part of it. (Scott, 78)
Bullying and unfair treatment are not limited to the above forms. It goes beyond the exaggerated scope of managerial supervision and responsibility. Some bosses engage in rude handling of their employees in order to retain power and control over them. Some even go as far as hindering workers from career development or applying for promotion. Employee’s contribution on matters concerning the management of the company and its affairs is much limited when abusive bosses belittle their contribution and undermine their opinion. In this way, employees develop a gradual self-alienation from matters of the company and feels out place. (Frost, 46)
Although some managers in their daily managerial responsibility may unconsciously micro-manage their employees’ activities, others may do it intentionally in order to hurt them or make them subjective to their authority. Some managers may intrude on the private life of employees as well as spreading rumors in the belief that by doing this, it will help them have proper control over them. Other bosses backbite their employees intentionally in order to create an atmosphere of superiority and invincibility.
Other forms of unfair treatment include setting unreasonable deadlines and unfair selection on who would attend business outing or even lunches. Some other managers may go to the length of socially isolating some employees with no apparent reason. All the above forms of abuse of power and unfair treatment towards employees are part of manager’s bid to have an autonomous control on the affairs of the business with almost unquestionable authority.
These bosses have been doing this in the belief that they are taking the necessary responsibility for the sake of the organization without knowing that unfair treatment of employees is very costly for any organization.
A number of negative consequences have been realized in the firms and industries with abusive bosses. The major one has been the reduction of workers’ efficiency and internal resistance on the side of the employee towards the proposed policies. Resistance in most cases arises due to the urge to fight back for their freedom. Resistance also results to uncoordinated workforce with no harmony, therefore, reducing the overall output of the organization.
Another serious implication of abusive leadership is the lack of innovation in the workplace due to unwelcomed contribution from employees. Authoritative work environment is a one-man show where the boss is the originator and the source of all decision making as well as the think tank of the organization. This way any innovative idea or suggestion from employees is discouraged making the firm suffer from lack of vitality. The bossy environment that the boss cloaks himself with makes employees to fear to approach him in matters of improving the workplace or even giving out their contribution. The lack of innovation means that a business will continue to be done using the same old practices. The continuous repetition of the same old ways of doing business makes the work monotonous and boring. This makes the employees loathe the work while others would opt to get out of that organization. This brings on board another issue of employee turnover, which from a managerial point of view has no desirable outcomes on the welfare of the organization.
Another effect of bullying and unfair treatment of employees by their bosses is that it destroys teamwork, causes lack of motivation and affects the attitude towards work, which consequently results to low self-esteem and ability to perform. Another effect of unfair handling of employees by their bosses is the health concern of employees. Mistreatment has been found to cause a series of health complications on employees that include anxiety, disrupted sleep, loss of concentration, hyper vigilance symptoms and stress headaches. This affects their output and performance.
With such pressure on these integral components of any organization, the productivity of business spirals downwards. A number of reasons have been brought forth to try to explain why many bosses prefer to bully and to unfairly treat their staffs. One of the major reason is that they practice such actions so that to instill fear on employees, therefore, making them do anything they might request or command to be done be it sending them on personal errands or attending to his or her own private work that is beyond employees’ scope of work. Another reason is to assert his or her dominance in the company. This is meant to scare away any threat that might be posed on his or her authority. Hindering employees’ development and growth is another strategy intended to keep anyone away from power since the development of other employees indicates that his or her dominance will be limited in a particular span of time.
It is evident that the one who stands to lose in this epic battle of power and control that managers wage are the employees of the company and the company. The company’s profitability is hampered ushering a period of continued financial difficulties and stunted growth. This psychological war is harmful to the organization and there should be ways of reducing and ultimately eliminating such kind of practices in the workplace for better performance of an organization.
A good working environment is where employees feel part of the entire organization. This encourages, nurtures growth, and at the same time involves them in deciding the future of the organization. Management of the business should ensure that any defiance behavior on the side of employees is addressed in an ethical way. Employees require to be motivated in their work while applauding good work well done. To create this environment, the topmost board of management should ensure that bullying and unfair treatment of employees by their seniors are mitigated and eliminated. Employees should be the first one to take necessary steps in solving mistreatment in the workplace. (Lee, Min, and Del 57)
Before taking any necessary steps in confronting the bully, an employee needs to analyze the situation objectively to determine whether the boss is being rude to everyone or not. This approach enables an employee to really see the situation the way it is. It might be that the boss had a rough day before he threw a tantrum on him or an employee is overly sensitive.
Employees should stand up for themselves and reject any action that is meant to mistreat them. One needs to stand and say no to any mistreatment since keeping quite would make the bully continue with his or her behavior. In accordance to the old adage that people tend to treat one the way one you allows them to, one must openly show the bully that you are not washing up with his behavior. On this case, an employee must handle the situation in an ethical and a calm manner while at the same time setting his or her own standard firmly with the ability of saying no to what is not right or is not within the scope of work mandate. Self-dignity and firm limits will earn an employee respect from his bullying employer and will to an extent reduce the chances of bullying. (Bell, 49)
Another step that an employee should take is to report the matter to superior if the behavior persists. It is good that when reporting the matter to a superior authority, it should be well documented and stating the matter and the frequency, this behavior has been occurring. Most employees report the matter to the HR department. Reporting to a higher authority will help in reducing the frequency and magnitude of this behavior to continue. In some cases where a higher authority in the hierarchy of the organization fails to take any tangible action against the bully, it good to file a legal case against the bully or to request the trade union to intervene. (Goodwin and Hermann, 35)
When the problem persists, it is good to quit the organization since there is no point of working or staying in an environment that acts a hindrance to one's growth and career development.
In conclusion, abusive bosses are an impediment to the achievement of organization’s goals and, therefore, the top management should not be aloof on the matters that concerns employees and should give them a fair hearing and fair handling of their grievances so that they can be able to work maximally with minimum supervision.
Scott, Gini G. A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses: Dealing with Bullies, Idiots, Back-Stabbers, and Other Managers from Hell. New York: AMACOM, 2006. Internet resource.
Bell, Arthur H. You Can't Talk to Me That Way!: Stopping Toxic Language in the Workplace. Franklin Lakes, N.J: Career Press, 2005. Internet resource.
Frost, Peter J. Toxic Emotions at Work: How Compassionate Managers Handle Pain and Conflict. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2003. Print
Lee, Min S, and Mar M. Del. El Contrato: The Contract. Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 2006.
Goodwin, Doris K, and Edward Herrmann. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. New York: Audioworks, 2013. Sound recording.