I had this boss. For only a couple of days. He was the owner/manager of a boutique hotel property and he was a little bit skittish. That is, he interviewed me and waited weeks and weeks to call me to fill in a position which had been vacant for a long time. He called me Friday to come in and “train” for a few hours on the same afternoon; that same night, he asked me to come in and begin my shift working weekend overnights. The – same – day.
I should have been tipped off about this guy from the moment I got the job; the fear instilled in his employees was evident. While they may tell you that they were just avoiding confrontation, that’s not even close to the truth about this guy. As anyone who knows me will tell you, people need to treat me with at least a modicum of respect or I get set off. Moreover, I’m not afraid of anybody; not anyone who holds no discernibly threatening countenance or disposition. It’s foolish to even consider fearing another human being who doesn’t have an axe to grind against you; we were all put on this earth as relative equals.
Granted this manager guy had a couple of years on me (he was probably in his late 40’s or early 50’s) and his own personal fortune (he inherited this property from his parents) may have been a tad more to the upside than mine presently, but when I’m his age I hope to be better off than where I am now and where he is now.
This manager operated from a place of fear; he was menacing; he should be feared. His orders were specific and to the letter. I got three hours of training (and follow up criticisms) and that was it. Still, he expected me to read his mind or something. In my second week (third night) his list of 43 bullet-pointed items of tasks for me to do had further digressions in each bullet point; and were as specific as “replace candles in all lanterns (with wick UP). Clean/polish every THURSDAY night” or “cover the outside furniture to protect from dew, dirt, and rain. During Santa Ana winds open covers completely.” When I asked a co-worker about any noticeable dew presence in the highly dry desert air of southern California; they shook me off and said, “Let’s not even get into it.” I don’t know how any of the employees at this place have stayed as long as they have. Yes, it is tough out there and yes no one is hiring but this ‘scare the employees’ thing is one of the unhealthiest type of relationships to have. Fear breeds fear; positive reinforcement and freedom breeds loyalty. I’m sure most of the people I came across at this job (who weren’t related to him) will be gone in a heartbeat if something better comes along.
At first I thought my relationship with this new boss was good. Yes, I saw the farce he was trying to hold before me, but I called him on it. And he seemed to respect this fact; he was even receptive to a lot of the ideas I’d had on how my shift could be more productive. I thought. He then lost in when critiquing my setup of the breakfast service; saying things like “jelly THEN honey” or “the napkins are supposed to go BETWEEN the plates and the bowls; not to the left.”
?? – I’m sorry, what?
The fact of the matter is that this employer has had 12 other employees in the last 18 months filling in the same position I was just let go from. When my co-workers told me about the other people who’d worked here before they said all 12 of them “moved away…left.”
Well chalk up lucky number 13. Lucky me.
When you manage from a place of fear, all of your employee’s loyalty is relative. When you are not open to others ideas of how things can be improved, everyone loses; people end up sitting staring at the wall for eight hours a night and others end up doing the work which could have been done in a less taxing setting.
Keep this up and eventually, you’ll find, you’ll get everything you wanted. You. Running the whole show all by yourself; just the way you always wanted.