Merge's Blog

The horrible boss never praises, only criticizes

Devil businesslady with a megaphone screemingat another businessladiesLast week I started a short series on horrible bosses (motivated by a recent re-watch of the movie The Devil Wears Prada) in which I began to verbalize the common traits that apply to the boss from hell.  So far, we have two – hell-ish bosses don’t see their employees as real people (only pawns on a chessboard), and they overwork them, sometimes to the point of loss in productivity.  Today I have yet another common characteristic of the horrible boss to add to the list – they only recognize bad performance, never good, or god forbid, exceptional!

Quick to criticize, but slow (if at all) to praise

These are the managers who are stridently vocal when things go wrong.  And it usually doesn’t take much to set the horrible boss off on a tirade.  The smallest slip-up, the tiniest error, the marginal delay, all get them riled up and into a tizzy.  They are known to loudly berate and belittle, often with an audience.  In many ways, it’s as if the temper tantrum builds up their self-esteem.  But when things go well, or extraordinarily well, they’re nowhere to be seen (unless of course it’s to take the credit).  More often than not, a “thank you” or a pat on the shoulder is far from forthcoming; in fact, you’d be lucky to get any sort of positive acknowledgement at all.

In some of my candid conversations with horrible bosses who have this common characteristic, the reason they’ve given me is that good work is a baseline expectation, so there is no reason to recognize and praise it.  Wrong!  For the record, everyone values being appreciated for a job well done, even if it’s just a simple thank you.

Okay, this is the third common characteristic that defines a horrible boss that I’ve brought up in the last couple of weeks.  What do you think of this one?  What have been your experiences?  And what do you have to add to the list?  Please share.

2 Comments

  • I have also heard a boss say that they do not want to recognize extraordinary work as it may affect the morale of the team – isolating one individual over the others – not sure I agree as most teams will recognize strong individual performance within the team.

    Reply
    • I too have heard this (or something similar to this) statement, and it drives me absolutely nuts Maureen! This is managing to the lowest common denominator! “I don’t want to praise someone because it might upset someone else.” How about you just praise generously whenever and wherever you can and stop worrying about how “someone” might get their nose out of joint. I’m with you Maureen, I think that when praise is generous (and genuine), there is plenty of it to go around, and most employees appreciate it greatly.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.