Compliments of Der Bettler via Flickr

The lynchpin to raise standards of living is to increase productivity. If individuals create more product, companies are in a position to give raises; through trickledown, the entire economy is positively impacted. As exemplary companies have shown (e.g., The Container Store, Mary Kay, and S.W. Airlines) a customer centric focus in which employees are lauded – and in which the culture is one of caring – breeds phenomenal results.

The fact that 25% of employees are bullied is both astonishing and disturbing. Why do firms beat their employees to a pulp (either directly, or by turning a blind eye to abuse) when it’s clearly not in their best interests? If you as managers want your employees to be less than stellar, engage in the following behaviors: 

  • Discuss their performance and your personal feelings about them with their peers. Demotivational tactics of this type breed strife among workers, and resentment toward the supervisor.
  • Remain silent when employees are successful. That way, they’ll know not to bother.
  • Tell them what they think. “Don’t you think” is a statement to lead the witness down a specific path. Remember that your compatriots are not on trial.
  • Be a high maintenance manager with whom people “test the waters” before they speak, and with whom they constantly check the acceptability of their next move. Foster an atmosphere of dependence where they feel childlike by comparison. Biro suggests modeling the behaviors you seek. If you enjoy stoking your ego, you may be igniting that desire in others as well. The hot poker of abuse (when wielded by those in power) is a form of social learning.
  • Engender an office of strangers. From Biro: “For many employees, workgroup relationships and relationships between managers and workers drive engagement and loyalty…” Her advice to “create a workplace culture that values people relationships” has been heeded by successful companies. If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of you, and the business will take care of itself. Encouraging workers to speak exclusively to the boss may serve his or her purpose, but it’s counter to the cohesion needed for synergistic combustion of ideas. Seamless interaction mimics the quantum nature of our most basic elements of matter – which is why it’s so effective.
  • Only discuss ideas that fall within your narrow frame of reference. This may be the way you’ve always done things, but will it maintain future advancement? Before you torpedo a plan, get more information and ask lots of questions.  
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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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