Tough Times = Mean Bosses: How to Change the Equation

The effect of the ailing economy on managers seems to be a continuing theme in the media. Eve Tahmincioglu recently reported on “Hard Times Drive Some Mean Bosses over the Edge” in MSNBC, relating various stories of bosses driven over the edge by the pressures of today’s economy.

As one worker related in the article, “He [the boss] has no problem reminding me or anyone else that the economy is bad, we are losing clients, the job market is awful, hint-hint, and if we don’t work our (butts) to the bone, not like we haven’t been already, then trouble will begin.”

Tahmincioglu also notes the result of all this “meanness” is a disgruntled and unproductive workforce. Of course, this isn’t surprising. When people feel overworked, overstressed and underappreciated, they will not give their best effort – let alone extra discretionary effort.

The advice in these situations is obvious: If managers want to encourage an employee to accomplish the tasks formally done by two people, then showing direct and tangible appreciation for those efforts will yield far greater results than demeaning accusations and threats.

Increasing meanness isn’t the only hallmark of a negatively changing company culture. C.C. Holland also reported on “The Ramifications of Workplace Rudeness” on BNet recently. A poll included in the article showed about 75% of respondents constantly or occasionally experience workplace rudeness.

What is your workplace attitude? Be sure to take our weekly poll and let us know. How are you counteracting meanness and rudeness as managers and employees become more and more stressed?

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