Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bad bosses and worthless workers

I too listened to the Walt Bodine show on bad bosses. If you missed it you can listen to it on podcast.

Lest we too quickly decide that Karl Marx was right - workers of the world unite and get rid of the bosses - let me say a word in defense of bosses. Bosses use capital and labor to create a profitable business. Without bosses there would be no organized industry, no job and no pay. Workers would be left to fend for themselves in a chaotic struggle for individual supremacy, solitary and starving. Somebody has to make the tough decisions: who works when, who does what, and yes, how much does one get paid over another.

What was lacking in the Walt Bodine discussion of bad bosses was a recognition that every business has to earn a profit. The recent financial catastrophe proves how quickly one business can go from success to bankruptcy. Citigroup only barely survived bankruptcy to get back on the profit bandwagon. Workers create product or service and thereby create success. Bosses owe their success to the workers who daily get the job done. It is that simple.Good bosses recognize this - they owe their jobs to workers.Workers should be encouraged, rewarded, and promoted when appropriate. Bosses who don't recognize this will never climb the latter of success.They are bad bosses and deserve to be fired.

Enough of bad bosses, what about worthless workers? What is a worker if he or she doesn't work? And by work, I mean "add value" to the organization. Add value means make money and earn a profit.Good workers improve the business, they make cars, serve meals, take tickets, pump gas, and a million other jobs that keep the economy humming along. And when the cars they make are bad, the meals cold, or they don't perform as needed, they the workers have worked themselves out of a job.

Neither are all bosses bad, nor all workers good. The bad need to be sorted out so that they can find a better fit for their talents. I once heard a saying that "A" employees don't stay with "C" employers. There is truth in this. Workers seek rewarding and challenging employment.Workers are creative, thoughtful, helpful and bosses need to recognize this. The problem with bad bosses is that they fail to recognize that their job is not to boss, but to manage. Peter Drucker the man who invented management theory is the guru of the subject. Bosses don't boss, they manage,  trying to instill corporate values in a diverse group of individuals and by encouraging their staff create an effective, harmonious, and profitable enterprise.

So, let's work together for a better America.


  1. I don't think the concept of making a profit was over looked. On the contrary I think that the entire discussion was about the BEST was to make a profit, the BEST way to motivate employees, and the BEST way to foster a creative and productive atmosphere. Yes a good portion was dedicated to the venting of disgruntled and frustrated workers, but where there is a problem there is an opportunity to find a solution. And hey everybody likes to bitch about work, its just a fact.

  2. The Russians have a proverb that the tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut.

    Yes, the best way to conduct business is to find great workers and let them perform.But, if you learn anything from tv reality shows like Survivor,it is that left to themselves, the group always eliminates the best and the brightest.

    History too tells us that those we love and respect become targets for the petty and jealous. Just remember John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, to name a few.