Are You a “Toxic Boss”?

by Joe Lavelle on October 30, 2009

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When you are looking to improve your personal situation, I always recommend that you start by looking in the mirror.  Is there an area of your career in which you are not contributing the maximum effort?  How many networking contacts have you made today?  Are you giving a good first impression with the way that you dress and carry yourself?  You will get left behind if you waste your time complaining about how others have gotten in the way of your success.  Yes, your boss may be frustrating, but keep the focus on what you need to be doing.

What happens, though, when you are the boss?  Are you the type of employer who is encouraging of your employees’ efforts and who offers opportunities for professional growth?  Or, are you the boss who has unpleasant things written about you in the office bathroom?

I read an interesting article on CNN’s website entitled, “The Making of a Toxic Boss.” Two researchers, one from the University of Southern California and the other from University of California, Berkeley, ran experiments using a diverse group of workers to determine the psychology of an abusive boss.  What was the conclusion?  Bosses who berate their employees and sabotage their efforts are dealing with personal feelings of inadequacy.  When insecurity is matched with power, aggressive behavior is often the result.  In fact, a recent survey shows that 37% of the country’s workers have aggressive bosses who scream at them or belittle them.  This is not effective management!

If you are in a position of power in your career, how are you treating those who work for you?  If you are not conducting yourself in the most professional and positive manner, take some time today to re-evaluate your methods.

In my new book Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, I provide a lot of advice on workplace behavior and attitudes.  Whether you are a recent graduate starting your first job or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I believe there is something in this book for you.  I hope you will check it out!

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