We as advocates know how to recognize bullying at work. But to create a more compassionate culture, it’s not enough to identify what’s wrong. If you were thrust into a leadership position yourself, would you know how to create a positive culture for your employees?
If we look at management effectiveness on a continuum, we put effective management (using empathy, humility, teamwork, respect, and empowerment) on one end and ineffective management (abuse) on the other. At various points along the continuum, we’d have some positive tactics (consistent communication, celebrating wins, honoring employees’ expertise) and some negative tactics (micromanagement, pulling rank, ignoring issues, positioning above grunt work, denying employees opportunities without explanation).
The bottom line
Regardless of whether or not bosses lead well 100 percent of the time, we can watch their actions to understand their underlying management philosophies. The bottom line is that managers who look out for the organization most often lead well, while managers who look out for themselves don’t.
- Managers who look out for the organization. When the organization’s success is a priority over one’s ego, managers understand that empowering employees and letting them own their positions encourages creativity and productivity. When managers treat people at any level as fellow humans rather than enforce a hierarchy to serve their egos, they listen and respond to their needs. They build people rather than power-trip them.
- Managers who look out for themselves. “Me” managers, or “I’m so important” managers, are all about enforcing a hierarchy to make themselves feel important. They have a need to control because they simply don’t trust their employees. (If they know how to do their employees’ jobs so well, why’d they hire them in the first place?)
When you begin to look at managers’ behavior in contexts of effective vs. non-effective, or looking out for the organization vs. looking out for their own egos, you see that anything beyond general patterns of looking out for the organization (and therefore you as a valued member of it) is beneath you. Don’t be fooled by managers who pretend they care about the organization but then don’t fully value your skills or respect your feedback. It’s a lose-lose approach to the you and the whole organization. Accept they’re not worth your time and look for another job (or better yet work for yourself).