How To Be A Bad Boss Effectively

by Mark J Galea

In my (wait a minute. Pause. Stop. I’m 41….so shall I describe my life as long, longish, or short, or relatively short?) professional life, I came across a number of books, articles and papers advising people how to be good or become better managers.

Every single piece of literature under this category aims at converting The Evil Witch/Queen into a whiter-than-white Snow White. I guess, that this creates a gap in the market. So how about addressing those people who want to play the villains at work? Someone needs to acknowledge and address these poor souls, right?

For this reason, I decided to come up with the Bad Boss’s Manual. Political correctness dictates that ignored minorities (or are bad bosses in the majority?) be accepted and embraced. By writing this manual, I feel that not only will they feel embraced, but they will also enjoy a reference guide….a sort of a satanic bible 🙂

Out of respect for generations X, Y and Z who lack enough patience to read articles but have enough time to “invest” in social media, I hereby present you with some brief points to help you become an even worse boss. These are my tips:

1) Empathy is for wusses: You are employed to get a job done. You were given a team to help you achieve YOUR goals….and bonus at the end of the year. Tough luck if they don’t like your style. The door is always open for them to leave and for their substitutes to come through. “Shape up or ship out”: THAT should be your mantra.

2) Terrorise your subordinates: The more your underlings fear you, the more productive they are. This also comes with the added benefit that no one will dare badmouth you. Ever. Not in private. Not in public. Actually, they will praise you with others (both inside and outside the company), and make sure that you get to know they did so. What could possibly give you better gratification than your underlings’ praise? On the flipside, look at how the “kind bosses” get criticised and denigrated in public (both openly and behind their back). Idiots!

3) Divide and conquer: Make sure that you have – at the very least – two factions in your team. Play to their weaknesses and make sure that you can effectively manipulate the weak and insecure team members. In such a scenario, your people will be elbowing each other to curry favour with you. To be in your good books. And while you’re at it, do encourage your underlings to spy on each other and report back to you (1984 style). Reward these loyal servants accordingly. Who can deny that this is a scenario that any manager dreams of?

4) Do your best to lose their trust: If your team fears you already, mistrust is a great bonus! You will become unpredictable in their eyes and THAT’S the one thing they clearly want to avoid. The last thing you want is for your underlings to feel safe. Remember that safe = complacent.

5) Make it clear that you play the political game, and that you have your own agendas: Nothing will make your people feel more insecure and terrorised than the fear of being left out of your grand plan. Actually, they will fight each other out for the leading role of your scheme. They will happily volunteer to do the dirty work for you. They will fight each other to the death like gladiators to climb the beanstalk and steal the magic harp from the giant. Make them play the political game like a video game: kill the ogres to score points. The more they kill, the higher the score…….Which gives me an idea. How about actually creating a leaderboard? No one would want to be at the bottom of the table, right? Muwahhhaaaahaaaaahaa.

6) Badmouth your underlings with other team members AND other managers: If you want to make sure that your underlings will treat you like a deity, you must prevent them from trusting you. Gossip as much as you can….and while you’re at it, make sure to add some of your spice. Go on. Spill the beans. Let them suffer and beg for your kindness.

7) Make sure they don’t trust you: Remember that trust also leads to complacency. If you earn the reputation of bad mouthing people, no one would want to fall victim of your rants. And what’s the best way for them to prevent this? By working hard to be in your good books….and to stay there.

8) Be angry all the time: No one likes to deal with angry people, and this would keep your underlings off your back. Would they dare bothering you with their personal problems? Of course not! Would they come up with some lame excuse for failing in their tasks? Unthinkable. Better still, no one likes to cross an angry manager. Who would be stupid enough to volunteer to fall victim of your wrath? No one should be that stupid, right? And if someone is that stupid, then they shouldn’t be on your team. This is an extremely effective way of getting things done, and achieve your goals.

9) Bark orders at your underlings: Nicities are for softies. Ditch any flowery language and make good use of your voice to show your people that you’re the boss. When ordering them around, make sure to bark your orders thus ensuring that your team is badgered into submission.

10) Be as unfair as possible: Make it clear that you have your own pets. That some animals are more equal than the others. Fairness is for the weak. You must also make sure to be unfair when rewarding your loyal servants. Kick logic and common sense out of the window. Make them crave and work hard for your favours. Convince them to turn their bitter disappointments (when you decide not to give them their rewards) into an even bigger strife for your favours.

11) Avoid consistency at all costs: Consistency makes you predictable; and you don’t want that, do you? Make sure that your underlings are constantly guessing what you’re scheming and that they can never be in a position to predict how you’re going to act. Spice this up by doing things in a diametrically opposed way to what you preach. Avoid acting like this all the time though, otherwise, you’d become consistent. After all, the element of surprise will keep your team motivated to follow your orders to the letter. You also need to master the art of dishonouring promises. Do it tactfully, and you’ll be laughing.

12) Clarity is a weakness: If you want to keep your team under control, make sure that your orders, instructions, and communication are as vague and convoluted as possible. This will inevitably make your underlings come to you asking for direction thus strengthening your power and forging their dependence on you.

13) Denigrate and ridicule your team in public: Make sure that you ridicule different individuals at least once a day. Quash their dreams. Make them understand that they are not worthy…..and keep on reminding them that there IS a reason (or more than one) why YOU are THE manager, and THEY are your servants. THEY are a means to an end. YOUR end. You’ll be amazed by the results you will achieve.

14) Take and keep complete control: Team members are like characters in a video game. You are the player holding the controller. Make sure that you dictate every single step. Every single move. There should be no room for individualism and personal ideas. YOU are the manager and YOU know best. Their role is to do what you say. To follow your instructions. You have no other option but to micromanage your underlings. You’re the only one who knows how every single task has to be carried out  😉

15) You know best: How dare they come up with ideas? How dare they suggest something that’s different to your way of doing things? How dare they question your you?There’s no room for suggestions or any form of discussion. This is yet another reason why micromanagement is the name of the game. Surely IF they were THAT good, THEY’d be managers, right?

16) Make them work hard for you: You will not tolerate anyone who dares to turn up late. It is also unacceptable for you that anyone dares to leave on time. Any “reasons” which – let’s face it – in reality, are excuses should be rubbished straight away. Make it clear that you expect your team to be at work early and leave as late as possible. You shouldn’t be happy to meet deadlines. Impress your bosses by finishing tasks before agreed deadlines. Needless to say, it’s OK for you to leave before any of your underlings.

17) Take all the credit for your underlings’ performance: This is precisely the reason why you need to hold the game controller. How can you claim success if you don’t have complete control? Make sure that your own bosses, your peers and your underlings know that your team’s excellent performance is SOLELY down to your input. If the company ever gets to lose you, there will be no tomorrow! They might as well shut down when you walk out the door.

18) Fire an employee every month: This will definitely keep them on their toes! Fire someone for the stupidest (and most illogical) of reasons, and you will see the team’s productivity soar. Keep this going every month, and you will be unstoppable. And remember: unstoppable = untouchable 😉

19) Hire underachievers: The more unemployable (for others) job candidates are, the more attractive they are for you. You will be the only one who gave them a job after weeks, months or years of searching. They will be forever grateful and will never, ever think of disobeying your orders. Furthermore, not a single one of these underlings will ever even think of dethroning you to take your job.

20) Surround yourself with yesmen: You already have to deal fellow managers and your bosses. Unfortunately, they don’t always do as you say. So why should you allow your underlings to add to the grief and frustration? You are the boss and their sole function is to march to your orders. Make sure that they clearly understand their place in your kingdom. Oops! I mean….department.

I will now leave you with this parting shot: always keep in mind that your decisions are irrevocable and final because, without a shadow of any doubt, you are always unquestionably right!

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Two Tribes

by Andrew Morris

We come across two tribes of people in the business world. The Do-ers who do what they say or agreed to do. And the Talk-ers, who do not.

We know where we are with the Do-ers. They like responsibility and are fulfilled by getting things done and pleasing us. Once we’ve delegated, it’s out of our head and into theirs. Organisations and relationships thrive with Do-ers.

Talkers say, with sincerity, `leave it with me` but quickly forget what it was we left. They pretend to make notes. They make excuses for letting us down and ask for deadlines to be extended, often more than once. In short, they over-promise and under-deliver. Organisations and relationships can be destroyed by the Talk-ers.

Which tribe would you prefer on your team?


About the Author

andrewbmorris_medAndrew Morris is Chief Executive of the Academy for Chief Executives, helping businesses to accelerate growth through better leadership.  Andrew describes himself as a creative businessman, who enjoys meeting people from all facets of life. His mantra is ‘take your job seriously, but not yourself.’

Andrew describes himself as a creative businessman, who enjoys meeting people from all facets of life. His mantra is ‘take your job seriously, but not yourself.’

L’Inglese Di Barby

by Barbara Mazzarelli

Eccomi tornata con un nuovo post dell’angolo di Barby.

Come avevo anticipato, in questo blog darò qualche consiglio su come migliorare il livello di inglese.

In questi anni ho sperimentato un po’ tutti i modi per accrescere il mio inglese, rendendomi conto che, purtroppo, studiarlo in un contesto italiano non è sufficiente, poiché si migliora molto lentamente. È necessario quindi uscire dai confini italiani, viaggiare, fare nuove conoscenze ed esperienze.

Se si è ancora studenti, si può pensare a uno stage all’estero, considerando che in molte università è un percorso obbligatorio, quindi tanto vale sfruttarlo appieno. Ci sono molte aziende disponibili ad accogliere tirocinanti, in questo modo si può fare un’utile esperienza di lavoro in un ambiente internazionale. Ho fatto questa scelta io stessa l’anno scorso, lavorando tre mesi in Irlanda.

Un’altra possibilità è frequentare un corso di lingua disponibili. Sono organizzati dalle classi elementari, per chi è alle prime armi, fino agli avanzati, per chi desidera una conoscenza professionale. È una scelta abbastanza costosa, ma può essere considerata come un investimento. Anche una breve esperienza può aiutare molto: nel mio caso è stato così.

Due anni fa ho frequentato una scuola di inglese a Edimburgo, in Scozia. Era la mia esperienza all’estero, svolta completamente da sola, ed è stata un’ottima decisione: ho conosciuto persone di diverse nazionalità, evitando di stare solo con italiani. Sono stata ospitata da una host family locale, entrando in contatto con il loro modo di vivere. Anche se durata poche settimane, è stata un’utile esperienza che mi è servita soprattutto per superare l’imbarazzo iniziale, interagendo con ragazzi di diverse nazionalità, dai kazakistani ai brasiliani, condividendo esperienze e raccontando usanze del proprio paese. Con alcuni conservo ancora un rapporto d’amicizia grazie ai social, anche se siamo sparsi nel mondo!

Un’altra alternativa è cercare un lavoro stagionale estivo. È una scelta presa da tanti ragazzi per migliorare la lingua. A Malta ci sono moltissimi locali, bar, ristoranti, pizzerie che cercano costantemente nuovo personale, anche senza esperienza, per un lavoro serale. Solitamente, non è richiesta un’approfondita conoscenza dell’inglese per iniziare. L’ideale è lavorare in un contesto dove l’inglese è la lingua veicolare: stando in un ambiente interamente italiano e creando amicizie con compatrioti, si migliora veramente poco.

Altri consigli utili sono quelli di vedere film o programmi in lingua, per abituarsi al suono e al linguaggio: se inizialmente non ci si sente abbastanza confidenti, si possono usare i sottotitoli.

Inoltre, per implementare la conoscenza dei vocaboli, aiuta molto leggere. Se si reputa troppo complesso un libro intero, si può iniziare con dei testi un po’ più semplici: posso consigliare la serie Black Cat, che riassume i grandi classici della letteratura in modo più facile e breve, per sciogliere il ghiaccio con la prima lettura. A scuola avevo iniziato così, per poi gradualmente passare a libri più complessi.

Al prossimo appuntamento con l’angolo di Barby

The No Choice Delusion

by Mark J Galea

In this fast-paced, manic life of ours we tend to unconsciously run on autopilot for most of the time. As we’re running on autopilot, we’re making constant decisions without necessarily being aware. But we’re making these decisions, nonetheless.

Because our decision making process is dictated by our mood, likes and dislikes, perception of priorities and importance, the outcome is not always necessarily in sync with the world outside planet “me”. This is when we find yourselves explaining how “I didn’t have enough time” to a disappointed boss, colleague or friend when asked about the failure of honouring our commitment.

Essentially, what “I didn’t have enough time” means is that I chose to do other tasks instead, and that I chose not to communicate my decision to the other party. The tricky part is that when we’re in autopilot mode, we’re not even aware of the decisions that we’re making, and we only become aware of their consequences once we see their effects.

Being aware of our choices gives us bigger opportunities to be more effective in our communication and outcomes. If your boss delegates a number of tasks with similar deadlines, it is obvious that you need to prioritise. A great performer would sit down with the boss to go over the tasks and work out which are the ones to be given priority in order to be completed within the requested time frames, and which ones should be sidelined or (temporarily) dropped.

This behaviour allows you to ensure that your outcome is in sync with the other party’s needs. Choosing not to communicate your decision may result in disappointing your boss due to misalignment of priorities between the two of you.

In case you’re still not convinced about the power and control that you have over your actions, please allow me to take this point to its most extreme. Imagine you’re being held at gunpoint while being asked to reveal a secret you were made responsible to protect. One may argue that the situation leaves you with no choice but to….. Yes, that’s right. You may choose one direction while someone else may make a different choice.

It all depends on our value judgement. Some people may value their life more than the secret they’re protecting, so they speak out. Others may conclude that it’s better to die as a hero than live as a coward so they’ll be prepared to take the bullet. The decision whether to reveal the secret or to protect your life is yours. The choice you make has a direct influence on the consequences.

No matter what the situation is, it is still your choice. So, next time you tell someone that you failed to deliver because you didn’t have enough time, be aware that – in essence – what you’re saying is that you chose other tasks over that particular one.

Before you claim that you didn’t finish your presentation because you lacked sufficient information, be aware that you’re claiming that you chose not to do your own research, or to ask for more information. And before claiming that you can’t make it to the meeting because it clashes with another one, just be aware that what you’re effectively saying is that you choose to go to the other meeting.

And that’s fine. If your choice to attend one meeting over the other is based on importance to the business, then your decision is perfectly legitimate and understandable. Yet, sometimes we make choices that may lack rationality and common sense; and that is when we end up in trouble.

Undoubtedly, the fact that we make choices gives us a degree of control and influence over our outcomes. Our life is shaped and defined by the choices we make. The most important thing is that we’re we are aware that we’re making these decisions and that we measure the implications and consequences of our decisions.