Wednesday, April 27, 2005

On The Mark -- Bad Bosses

There are a lot of good reasons to reject John Bolton for the U.N. ambassador job. They’ve been well defined by bloggers and the media. But one reason that seems to be emerging is his management style as a boss. I understand that it’s probably the Dems’ strategy to focus on this in an attempt to connect with the general public because, let’s face it, everyone has had a bad boss (or two).

If you ask enough people, just about every boss in any industry will find someone who didn’t like their style or thought they were ineffective. It’s possible to be fair, to provide good leadership, to recognize achievers, to listen to problems and issues and try to fix them, to provide your team with an environment that they enjoy working in. It’s possible to be consistent in how one rewards and punishes. It’s not possible to keep everyone happy.

It’s defining a bad boss that’s the problem. Many people believe that a demanding boss who isn’t warm and fuzzy and primarily focuses on results is a bad boss. As a consultant, I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times that business managers have been shocked when they review employee survey results and find that morale isn’t so hot.

“Nightline” recently predicted the emergence of bad boss advice books, and I’m sure we’ll start seeing more “experts” on television shows (reality and news) and in newspaper columns and magazine articles. I’m sure it’s a huge untapped market.

However, there are plenty of good, valid reasons to keep Bolton out of the post. Being a bad boss (as being defined by the media) is not one of them. If so, do we then evaluate all candidates for all governmental posts on their staff management skills as well? If so, what are the criteria?

If so, why is Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court?

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