Bad Boss Roundup


A few articles in the news today about bad bosses. Hopefully, more than a few have 2007 resolutions to get better. Chances are though, the bad bosses think they are great. If your boss has resolutions for becoming a better manager, he or she is probably already a pretty good manager, or even a leader.

Recall the Mistakes Of Your Past Bosses, So You Can Do Better (WSJ)

  • This article says to learn from the mistakes of others. News flash, you shouldn't humiliate staffers in front of others. That was par for the course at my old GM factory, before the NUMMI-trained plant manager came in. Before lean, we were ripped and scolded daily by the plant superintendent. I learned from that experience… and left. Praise in public, criticize in private. Always good advice.
  • Another tip from the Obvious School of Management (enrollment: too few), it says don't set impossible goals. We learned this from Deming… when people have unachievable objectives, they'll lie, cheat, or steal to make those numbers. That's the cruelty in Management by Objectives. One quote from the article on this point:

She pushed one team so hard to meet the shipment deadline for a new product that team members stopped divulging its flaws. Facing intense time pressures, “everybody tells you what you want to hear,” she remarks. “I just hadn't realized how big the problem was.”

Study: 2 of 5 bosses don't keep word

This article highlights some classical bad boss behavior. The article is free, so click on over to read more:

Nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word and more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, the Florida State University study shows.

And those all-too-common poor managers create plenty of problems for companies as well, leading to poor morale, less production and higher turnover.

“They say that employees don't leave their job or company, they leave their boss,” said Wayne Hochwarter, an associate professor of management in the College of Business at Florida State University…

Do you have any of this bad boss behavior at your workplace? I'm sure a lot of that bad boss behavior happens at companies who claim to be working on lean. They're working on lean tools, maybe putting in kanban systems or working on 5S, but they somehow miss the “respect for people” element of the Toyota Production System.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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