October 10, 2007

Bosses who cause problems are 'too expensive to keep,' expert says

Thanks to the Internet, employees with a difficult boss can vent to a wide audience, not just in undertones to the nearest person.

A Web site called eBossWatch.com, which launched this summer with the slogan "Nobody should have to work for a jerk," is one example of this phenomenon.

It, like blogged tirades and the AFL-CIO's annual My Bad Boss contest, hit on an important point: Bosses can't afford to be jerks, not when the economy is in a "war for talent" mode.

It might be fun to watch Donald Trump chew out hapless sycophants on The Apprentice, but most people don't want to work for someone like him.

"Bad bosses are too expensive to keep," said Gary Namie, president of Work Doctor Inc., of Bellingham, Wash., which advises businesses on how to prevent bullying. "They cost turnover, absenteeism, lawsuits, workers' comp claims and a tarnished reputation."

Wayne Hochwarter, a Florida State University business professor who has studied workplace dynamics extensively, has a theory on why there are so many bad managers: A lot of them were promoted because they were competent at their former job, say, selling cars, but don't have a clue how to manage other people doing the job.

And most of the training they receive on management – which isn't a lot because training budgets are shrinking everywhere – is futile. "They do not train them to effectively interact with people," Mr. Hochwarter said. "They train them to know who to call if Charlie slips in the warehouse and breaks his ankle."

From: http://www.dallasnews.com

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