Workplace SAGA!

If you’ve never had a nasty boss, consider yourself extremely fortunate. Most of us have some experience dealing with a manager that has either driven us to tears, made us red with rage, or that simply made us dread going to work every day. From being verbally abused to micromanaged to disrespected, we’ve lived to talk about it. And if nothing else, perhaps there’s some comfort to be taken in knowing about others’ most trying professional moments and knowing we all made it to the other side in one piece. We used to tell terrifying stories to our friends when we were younger. And, more often than not, we’d embellish a little (or a lot) to make the story more juicer. But, now, as grownups, we still have some terrifying stories to tell; except this time, they come from the workplace, and they’re 100% real.

I learned about the obligations of businesses to their employees in my MBA course, Business Ethics, and the situation of Kate and Osa was one I could relate to. I used to be Kate, and I had a horrible boss who lacked emotional intelligence and made insulting statements to people of our team, especially when they didn’t make project deadlines. He set unreasonable expectations and would require us to work extra hours. Rather than listen to our viewpoints or be empathetic, he made us feel unworthy and inferior by constantly yelling and talking down to us 

 The human resource department couldn’t exactly do anything about this, matter of fact it was organizational culture for superiors to override their subordinates and make the feel some kind of way. They didn’t seek to structure relations with employees nor observe standards of fairness in dealing with them, this culture came with its consequences. Staffs were demotivated. During performance reviews, if certain employees were unable to fulfill established targets (unrealistic goals) or meet deadlines (often due to organizational carelessness), they were publicly chastised as though it were solely their fault. 

While totally unconventional, this was the company’s misguided effort to evaluate and motivate employees. Even if it’s well-intentioned, there are better ways. When you want to evaluate employee performance, begin with the objectives that you’ve established. Ensure they’re challenging, but also realistic. And to motivate your staff, accentuate the good and collaborate on areas for development. Instilling fear – or even shame or humiliation – has the opposite impact.

The corporate culture is what you truly are, not what you claim you are. The organization advertises itself as the “best place to work’. when in reality the workplace is toxic. If you want to truly build a positive employer brand, focus on what matters: building a safe work environment, meaningful employee benefits and equitable incentive systems. Employees have the right to have their interests safeguarded at all times, as well as the right to be respected and also share in the value created by the firm. The employee should be committed to achieving the organization’s objective and the organization should be as committed to the personal and professional fulfilment of the employee.

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