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Over many years as an IT consultant, I gained an interesting insight into the culture of dozens of different workpl...
Over many years as an IT consultant, I gained an interesting insight into the culture of dozens of different workplaces.
I encountered companies where I would have loved to work full-time, but I also found myself in workplaces where just one day on site was enough to trigger a flight or fight reaction!
Usually the things that made the difference came “from the top.” A good boss could create a great working atmosphere, while a bad boss could quickly create the kind of working environment where dreams go to die.
Based on my observations, here are a few things I learned from the good bosses out there—things I try to take on board on the occasions when I manage people nowadays.
Bosses who turn up late with hangovers, treat customers with disdain and behave unpredictably do nothing but encourage staff to think it’s acceptable to do the same. Part of being a boss is being a role model.
One thing I’ve noticed plenty of times in “happy” working environments is that there’s typically a boss in place who treats everyone as an equal, from the cleaning staff to the executive team. I’ve also seen the opposite, and it’s neither respectful nor endearing.
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Sirius Black, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Another thing I’ve witnessed on a depressingly frequent basis are companies where the culture changes as the business grows and gets more successful.
I’ve also seen this handled the right way, with staff being encouraged to share in the success of the business. However, all too often, the success goes to the boss’s head, resulting in arrogance and an increasingly bitter workforce.