I saw a study that said a great majority (71 percent of 972 workers surveyed) would not like to be the boss, and not only did they not want to be in charge, they didn’t think they could do a better job than the boss.
That seems odd, considering the number of “bad boss” books on the market today. We have books saying that bosses are crazy, raised by wolves, micromanaging ogres and in short, the most horrible two-legged creatures on the face of the planet.
OK, so maybe that’s just used to sell books. The truth is that some bosses are good, and some are not so good. But before we claim they should be dropped into abandoned mines, let’s consider what they do every day.
They put up with employees who smell and look like they slept at the bottom of a laundry basket. They have to referee spats between co-workers arguing over who left the dirty dishes in the sink. They have workers who don’t show up for work because, well, because it’s a nice day and they don’t feel like working. They put in many hours at home after their families go to sleep because they can’t get any work done in the office with all the constant interruptions from their staff.
Their own bosses demand constant reports, insist that budgets be cut without affecting production and order that their lips be sealed regarding potential layoffs.
They are, in other words, constantly between a rock and a hard place. Their loyalty and energy are constantly being divided between the employees they oversee and the senior managers. Little respect or consideration is offered from anyone for what they go through every day.
Yeah, who wouldn’t want that job?
That’s why Wayne Turmel (a.k.a. The Cranky Middle Manager) speaks up for middle managers, offering them sound advice – coupled with humor – to help them keep going. He notes that while companies offer little or no training dollars to those in middle management, it’s not always a bad job.
He’s right. Many managers talk about the sense of satisfaction they get from coaching employees, helping them improve their skills and reach their goals. They like being the kind of leader that inspires; they even enjoy providing pizza on a Friday afternoon to recognize good work.
So, the next time you’re quick to dump on your manager, take a moment and consider what it’s like to stand in his shoes. Maybe it’s a job you don’t want, but that’s no reason to make it a job he doesn’t want, either.
If you are in management, a couple of places you might want to check out for further support and education include: