Just because a boss is bad does not mean that they are going away

Just because a boss is bad does not mean that they are going away
Image Credit: juanp. GC

Let’s face it. Not all IT managers have the IT manager skills to be good bosses. However, for those of us who are, when we encounter one who is not, generally speaking we all have the same thought: just exactly how are they holding on to their job? I think that we can all agree that a boss who mistreats their workers should be fired. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen. Why not?

Why Don’t Bad Bosses Get Fired?

I can only speak for myself when I tell you that I tend to have a high opinion of any company that I am working for. I mean, after all, they did hire me – right? When I see that my company has a bad boss working for them I tend to think that this is a short term problem that maybe can be corrected with some IT manager training. I believe that the company will quickly see the error of their ways and will take steps to fix or get rid of the bad boss. However, all too often this is not what happens.

So why doesn’t a company drop a bad boss like a hot potato? It turns out that the reason is pretty simple – a bad boss can actually look very effective in the short run. So what makes a boss a bad boss? These bosses generally have one or more behaviors that can be classified as being either bullying or undermining. Oddly enough, studies have shown that employees who work for this kind of bad boss tend to be more engaged in their work than other employees.

The next thing that you would expect is that workers who find themselves working for a bad boss would be leaving. I mean, who really wants to go in to work or do any IT team building when you know that you’ll be spending your time with someone who clearly does not treat his or her workers well? Once again, just like me, you’d be wrong. Studies have been made that show that workers who have a bad boss tend to stay in their jobs for up to two years longer than other workers. I personally find this kind of fact just amazing.

Why Do Workers Stay With A Bad Boss?

At this point in time, most of us are probably starting to think that clearly bad bosses are better bosses. Perhaps it’s time for you to start to adjust your management style and become more of a bully and start to undermine the members of your team. However, that would be a mistake. It turns out that any advantages that come from being a bad boss are only temporary.

Initially, bad bosses can come across as appearing to be high performing bosses. However, that is not going to last. What will eventually happen is that the company is going to see more turnover on their team. The employees who don’t actually leave have a much greater possibility of becoming burned out. Finally, the greatest risk to the company of employing a bad boss is that they increase the risk that an unhappy employee is going to turn around and end up and suing the company.

It turns out that there are a lot of bad bosses out there. Surveys have shown that half of the workers polled said that they had left a job because of a bad boss. What was even more worrying was that 56% said that they were currently working for a bad boss. Less motivated workers will quickly leave a job in which they find themselves working for a bad boss. The reason that some workers will remain in a job that has a bad boss comes down to two reasons. The first is that they are highly motivated by their work, no matter what boss they are currently working for. The other is that they see this job as being a stepping stone to their next position, once again no matter who they are working for.

What All Of This Means For You

In the world of IT managers, we’d all like to think that there are only good managers out there. However, the reality is that there is a mix of managers: the good ones and the bad ones. Although you and I might think that the bad managers should be fired, all too often that is not happening. The big question is why not?

Although I think that we can all agree that a bad boss is bad for a company, it turns out that somewhat surprisingly people who work for a bad boss are more engaged in their work than the other employees at the company. Additionally, people who work for a bad boss tend to stick around at the company longer. The benefits of being a bad boss turn out to only be temporary. Generally, workers will leave when they have a bad boss. They may also burn out or they may end up suing the company. The workers who stay when they have a bad boss generally are dedicated to the work that they are doing or they see this job as a critical stepping stone in their career.

As we look at the other managers that our company employs, we may discover some that appear to be very good at what they do. Their team is working hard and not a lot of people are leaving. However, if we keep looking for a while we may discover that because they are a bad boss, their team is suffering. In the end, it turns out that none of us should ever want to be known as being a bad boss!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If someone that you know is a bad boss, do you think that you should take the time to let them know that you see them this way?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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Interpersonal chemistry is what makes someone a good fit for your team

Interpersonal chemistry is what makes someone a good fit for your team
Image Credit: Martin Cron

As IT managers, it is our responsibility to use our IT manager skills to build the best team that we possibly can. We’re going to be asking a lot from our team in terms of being able to deliver complex projects quickly and efficiently. This means that the people we invite to become members of our team will need to be the best of the best. The challenge that we often face is that in the traditional interview process it can be very difficult to use our IT manager training to determine if someone would be a good match for our team. What’s an IT manager to do?

It’s All About Chemistry

When we sit down with someone who is interviewing to join our team, we need to quickly determine if they are going to be a good fit. There are, of course, several characteristics that we can all pick up on easily that will tell us that someone may not be the right choice for our team: lack of eye contact, mumbling, and an inability to answer our questions. However, the bigger question is if they are not clearly the wrong person, are they still not a good fit?

It turns out that what is important is how you react to the person in the first few minutes of meeting them. The burden of making a connection is really on their shoulders. What the candidate needs to be able to do is to create a unique form of interpersonal chemistry called rapport. There are a number of different professions that have this ability: bartenders, retail employees, stand-up comedians, and police investigators.

The time period that the candidate has to create a sense of rapport with you is very limited. They have the amount of time from when they first greet you with a handshake until the time that they take a seat across from you to create this chemistry. This is the time for them to show their personality.

What Makes A Good Candidate For Your Team

When someone is interviewing with you for a position on your team, it’s going to help if they have taken the time to do their homework. This can be as simple as finding out if the person that they’ll be talking with likes to engage in small talk before an interview starts. If it turns out that they are talking with a person who is a task-orientated person who doesn’t like to waste time, then skipping the banter and getting right to the point will be the correct course of action.

What a candidate is going to have to accomplish during an interview with you is to quickly find some elements that they can use to create common ground between the two of you. If they can accomplish this, then they’ll be able to create a spark of trust between the two of you. The goal has to be create an early sense of connection.

When it comes time to evaluate if someone is the right person to join your team, it’s going to come down to the amount of rapport that you feel with them during the interview process. The more rapport that they are going to be able to create between the two of you, will have a very unique influence on your willingness to allow them to join your team. Having the right skills for the job is important, but being able to create the correct chemistry with you may be even more important.

What All Of This Means For You

As an IT manager you have the responsibility to build the best team that you can. Part of this process has to do with the interviewing and selecting of candidates that you think will make a good addition to your team and will allow you to do IT team building. This can be a tough task to accomplish. Many candidates may look promising during an interview, but will turn out to not have what is needed to contribute to your team. IT managers need to be able to select the right people to join their team.

In order to pick the right person, you need to understand that it’s going to be all about chemistry. In the first few minutes of meeting someone they are going to have to be able to create rapport with you. They have very little time to make this happen. By the time that they are seated across from you, they need to have been able to connect with you.

Picking the right person to join your team can be a real challenge. They need to have done their homework in order to find out how you want to be talked to. While they are talking with you, they need to quickly find some common ground between the two of you to build on. Ultimately, the success that a candidate has will come down to how much rapport they are able to build between them and you.

When we are selecting people to join our team, we want to be able to judge their ability to work well with the rest of our team. This can be difficult to do. What we need to understand is that the best candidates are the ones who are able to quickly use chemistry to build rapport with us. When we find them, these are the candidates that are going to make our teams even better than they already are.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there is any way to measure the amount of rapport that someone is able to build with you?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it. Not all IT managers have the IT manager skills to be good bosses. However, for those of us who are, when we encounter one who is not, generally speaking we all have the same thought: just exactly how are they holding on to their job? I think that we can all agree that a boss who mistreats their workers should be fired. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen. Why not?

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