Are you tolerating mid-level dictators in your organization – managers who are succeeding by bullying the people who work for them?  If so, you are buying short-term success at the cost of long-term failure. To read the rest of this article from the Denver Business Journal, see: Managerial totalitarians sabotage their own success

When you focus on driving sales, streamlining operational costs and increasing profit, you’ll tend to ignore almost any behavior that succeeds at organizational levels below yours.

You’ll even allow mid-level tyrants to verbally flog their crews as long as they get the desired results.  Then you’ll be mystified when today’s successful practices unravel next year.

Within a year after they’ve succeeded, managerial dictators sabotage their initial success by stifling creativity and differences of opinion, and by thwarting personal desires.

Repressed egos, resentment, turf fights, backbiting and resistance come to the fore.  Verbal bullying no longer increases morale, wounds are opened in public, and once-proud allies start pointing fingers as performance and teamwork fall.

To maintain productivity and profitability gains, company officials need to recognize abusive behaviors and develop corrective actions to reform or eliminate these tyrants.

Some common traits of mid-level bullies: - See the original article for details.

  • They think that anyone who doesn’t see that they know best is a jerk.
  • Talking with them isn’t a discussion; it’s an argument.
  • They treat subordinates and peers with distain and contempt.
  • Nothing bad is ever their fault and, “If only those people wouldn’t screw up, we could succeed.”  Every success results from their ideas and work.
  • They’re nitpicking masters of blame and righteous indignation.
  • They often ridicule and undermine leaders’ intelligence and authority.
  • They think they shouldn’t have to answer to anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
  • Their units may fill their quotas but will obstruct other departments’ efforts so the overall project suffers.

Recognize the overlooked costs of their behavior: - See the original article for details.

  • Initial success isn’t maintained and new initiatives are sabotaged.
  • Personal squabbles spread and consume too much company time and energy.
  • Supervisors don’t learn effective leadership skills; they’re promoted because they stroke the dictator’s ego and verbally beat their own crews.
  • Since they play favorites, employees may sue.
  • Abuse, resistance and mutiny spread to their staff and other departments – decreasing productivity throughout the company.
  • The best, most creative employees in all departments leave.  Former employees badmouth the company in the small community of your industry.

Some steps to change their behavior: - See the original article for details.

Petty tyrants often rise because they succeed.  Their force of will and skill do make some other people work harder.  They’re difficult to change because they think they’re smarter than anyone else, and their fear, anger, training and stylistic habits are powerful.

If you allow managers to act like petty tyrants, the buck stops at your desk.  Either you agree with that behavior, or they hid it from you, or you were too busy focusing elsewhere or you accepted it because it produced results.

Usually they must be forced to change.  Help them see that another way can be successful, that they won’t lose respect or rank, and that they can still feel in control.  Make them see that if they don’t change, they’ll be released.

Behaviors demonstrating progress: - See the original article for details.

Often, individuals need coaching and organizations need consulting to help them design and implement a plan that fits the situation.  To get the help you need, call Ben at 1-877-828-5543.