So, that's how these people manage to live with their own shitty selves! They walk around with a clear conscience; with no doubt in their souls about their actions. They don't think about the injustices and the insults of different caliber they spread around with every step they take. They don't even qualify them as injusticies and insults. Instead, they pat each other on the backs and tell themselves that they are good bosses! Their self-delusion probably goes even further: I am terrified to think about it, but they might have convinced themselves that they are good people. Honestly, the idea of these people going through their lives thinking that they are saints makes my skin itch on the inside.
To tell you the truth, I prefer honest assholes, like the ones whose primary traits are itemized in the list provided by the Time's article attached on the bottom of this post. They are at least somewhat conscious of their attitudes and justify their behavior with the "business necessity." You know: A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do - that sort of thing. I also think that self-aware bastards are less casual with their cruelty. Unless they are real sadists, they apply it knowingly and, therefore, sparingly.
The conversation quoted in the title is not an allegory: I actually had the misfortune of witnessing it. I had to summon all my will power not to burst out laughing at these jerks. I've had pangs of suspicion that many business owners felt good about themselves, but this was the first time one of them actually voiced such self-deception in my presence. Why was it so bitterly funny? Because, the statement was prompted by their finally adapting a pension plan they promised their employees two years ago.
These are employers who pick favorites and treat them with an obvious preference, while discriminating against others. They forget to disclose new commercial initiatives, thus forcing everyone to run against time in order to turn their ideas into business realities. They will not hesitate to make a "good-natured" joke at an employee's expense or brazenly comment on someone's deficiency. The list can go on, and on, and on, and on... What can I say? Swell guys!
But let's see. What are (in my opinion) the attributes of a really Good Boss???
1. Fairness and objectivity; no bullshit like, "I don't like that bitch's personality, so I don't care if she's going to leave, even if it'll hurt my company."
2. Dedication to a merit-based system of rewards comprised of both tangible and moral incentives.
3. Intelligence and business acumen that perpetuates the company's success and keeps employees gratified that they don't work for an incompetent idiot.
4. High performance standards applied equally to everyone - first and foremost to his/her own work.
5. Capacity to fully comprehend the abilities and values of their direct reports.
6. Sufficient organizational savvy to match subordinates' abilities with functional tasks.
7. Acceptance of personal responsibility as a job-creator and human-resources leader.
8. Strong emphasis on the development of employees' know-how and professional growth.
9. Balanced combination of delegation and efficient supervision; none of that hands-off micromanagement crap I write so much about.
10. An actual effort to understand people working for the company.
11. Sufficient tact and self-confidence (!) to prevent casual personal insults, usually resulting from deeply seated insecurity.
12. And this one is just for me: For once in my life I would like to work for someone with a good memory, because I'm fucking fed up with their forgetting time after time the stuff I say, write, and report to them.
So, my dear business owners and other chiefs, try to test your performance against the criteria above and see how you do. None of the "good bosses" I know would score enough for a "D" grade.