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Bad Bosses

November 17, 2018 (355 words)

In the beginning, the overbearing and hyper-critical way you relate to your small staff is justified by the fear of failure. The sense of dread that comes from knowing if this thing goes down in flames, your lack of any discernable skills will land you at a big box retailer, if not managing a busy 24/7 convenience store or fast food outlet.

Then, if you hang around long enough, weathering a few major economic downturns along the way, you manage to turn the corner. You encounter a thoroughly unexpected (even if long hoped for) development: profitability.

When this happens – and especially if it happens later in life – the sense of entitlement that comes over you is all-encompassing. “I have worked my tail off, and I deserve all this.”

So once the good times start to roll, your demeanor towards your long-suffering staff does not change in any appreciable way. It turns out you are still the same overbearing and hyper-critical bastard you’ve always been.

It’s just that now your behavior is justified by the belief your financial advancement is something of a divine right, bestowed upon you by virtue of your unparalleled drive and industriousness. The minions in your employ are merely there to enhance and ensure your success.

Mind you, it’s not that you haven’t worked your tail off, and are undeserving of reward. It’s that everyone else in the organization has also worked hard, and should therefore also receive a piece of the action, a slice of the pie. And the size of that slice should amount to more than scraps from your table.

This is the entrepreneurial, small business version of what “equitable distribution” is all about. It’s what the Gospels have been trying to tell us for two thousand years. It’s what the Catholic popes have been harping on since 1891.

Along with any number of conscientious, highly-regarded champions of social justice in the employment arena over the last hundred years or so, such as R.H. Tawney and E.F. Schumacher, just to name a few.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr.
November 17, 2018

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