Good managers respond to their employees’ personal problems and the distractions of their major, joyous events, like weddings and births. But what happens when a manager tries to be the therapist for a few underperforming and troubled employees, but fails to fix them? The managers, who go overboard and become therapists, focus their attention on a few employees who are having major internal problems. These employees usually:
- Can’t stand the stress of meeting deadlines or reasonable performance standards.
- Are so involved in their personal problems that they can’t be counted on – or they can be counted on to drop the ball.
- Blow up and attack their co-workers – overtly or by backbiting, rumor mongering or constant negativity.
- Feel entitled to special treatment because they’re suffering
These managers think they’re sensitive and caring; not bullying, slave-driving bosses. But actually, they’re caring only about a few of the staff, while they make the rest pick up the slack and put up with being used and abused. Essentially, these managers are playing favorites: They managers care for a few employees while they victimize and bully the majority of their staff. They sacrifice the many for the sake of the few.
Inevitably, turnover of solid performers increases. I’ve seen 25 % turnover per year in these situations. Inevitably also, these become hostile workplaces as frustration and anger increase. New employees bail as soon as they can. Performance also suffers as morale and teamwork plummet.
If these managers listened to evaluations by the majority of their staff, they’d get an earful.
These managers aren’t rescuers; they’re meddlers. Most are difficult to turn around because they’re addicted to their role as meddlers. But if they’re willing to look honestly at the mess they create, coaching and consulting can reverse the problems. They can eliminate the high cost of their addictive meddling and the low attitudes of a few people on their staff.
I see therapist managers imost often n government offices, non-profits and public service organizations.
I see therapist managers most often in government offices, non-profits and public service organizations.
Have you seen any managers like these?