Saturday 29 November 2008

The managers that damage your health

Bosses stamping on hearts

When I read the news story on the BBC that Bad bosses damage your heart [1], I thought, finally, someone has invested in some serious research to confirm what many already know but could not find an acceptable term for.

In fact, terms would probably be high blood pressure, stress or heart problems, but the causative issues which are work-related emanating from the bad managers at work never really factors into the ameliorating remedy.

Working for a sociopath

I had a nasty experience with that kind of manager just over 4 years ago when the sociopath who presented a most advanced multiple personality façade as he was able to convince his bosses that he was the best thing since sliced-bread whilst he treated his staff to being sliced like bread; he was a big fat bully.

In general, I am able to control my circumstances at work such that I refuse to allow the machinations of rotten managers to affect me beyond what I am able to endure as simply uncivilized behaviour.

In this case, I was hamstrung, my expert opinions were challenged without better views than the ability to bark out expletives; anytime he wanted to get anything done, he briefed the project managers against me; and when I asked for a reference to further my studies, he first suggested I did not have the aptitude for study and then specifically stated in the reference that no help financially or through giving time off would be offered by the company with regards to my study.

After the meeting where expletives were rained upon me, I decided I had had enough, obviously, my manager thought because I had a mortgage and some other responsibilities including with his being privy to certain sensitive aspects of my health I would be unable to make the bold move and leave the company.

Leaving and stressed

Sometimes, I fail to realise how fortunate, blessed and resourceful I have been, I fail to give myself enough credit for the things I have done – recently, I noticed that I have really been self-employed as an IT Consultant for 11 of the last 13 years, I suspect I might have been doing something right.

Well, I found a job and when I submitted my resignation, I was told anyone else could do my job and suffered even more horrible treatment that I took a whole week off before I lost my sanity. I could not understand how if I was leaving a job in weeks I could be under so much stress.

In fact, I had to complain to the CIO, the HR director and copy in the CEO to get some sort of behavioural adjustment from my manager.

These are managers of human beings

The core of the matter is that the culture of management is geared towards visions and missions, products and productivity gains without necessarily considering the humanity that brings about the success to the company.

The people are pushed, laboured and under extreme duress and in fear of their livelihoods that they yield to every direction bordering on slavery whilst allowing the atmosphere to affect them beyond the job into their lives and health.

These are supposed to be managers of human-beings first who happen to have goals to reach for the organisation which hopefully knows that it employs human-beings – flesh and blood who have feelings, goals, ideas, ambitions, loyalties and concerns.

A companionless manager

During that year, five of my colleagues in long term relationships broke up with their partners; my manager thought they were coping well because they buried themselves in their jobs. My view was that if things were so bad at home they would bring those problems to work and could mess things up further, especially in the completely de-motivating atmosphere they were working in.

However, for a manager who might only have been able to have a relationship if the partner wanted someone powerful rather than someone beautiful on the inside and outside, he probably was full of glee that many were becoming single.

Assess managers better

Managers have their purposes in organisations but I fear that there are not enough success assessment methodologies that review the manager beyond the ability to deliver regardless of how his underlings have been abused.

In the months after I left the company, 6 people resigned and even more moved on afterwards, one would have though the HR department would become suspicious as to why there was such attrition in a critical operational department but managers in that company were autonomous, infallible and almost omnipotent – rarely had a manager been sanctioned through internal grievance procedures.

I believe organisations have a duty to their workforce to foster healthy working environments and relationships whilst having a better assessment of their managers beyond their ability to meet some shareholder-dictated goals – if the people are your best asset then they should be managed by people who get the best out of those assets not ones who grind the assets into life-threatening conditions that make then eventually useless to the organisation.

It would appear, the staff have to start to document systematic managerial abuse against how it affects their health and chart how things deteriorate if they cannot walk away from their jobs for all sorts of reasons – eventually, they should be meant to prove or allude certain conditions to work-related stress and possibly particular managers.

No job is worth the stress

In the end, no job is worth the deterioration of my health caused by someone who cares not one iota for my well-being apart from being able to sadistically lord it over me with the feeling that I am trapped and have no other choices than be a slave of my circumstances.


[1] BBC NEWS | Health | Bad bosses may damage your heart

Other workplace stress related articles

BBC NEWS | Business | Bullying bosses 'rife across UK'

BBC NEWS | Business | Bullied workers suffer 'battle stress'

BBC NEWS | Health | Unfair bosses raise blood pressure

BBC NEWS | Health | 'Stress code' for firms launched

BBC NEWS | Business | Workplaces 'getting more stressful'

BBC NEWS | Business | Blood boils in UK workplaces

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