Last month, we asked you to tell us about a boss-from-hell experience and many of you did just that. We’ve (anonymously) shared your horror stories. Here’s another dreadful tale for your mid week.
As a consultant to corporate firms undergoing growth and change, I have plenty of war stories when it comes to bad bosses. I don’t get annoyed; after all I’m here to address business problems.
My usual reaction is quiet amazement at how some people can rise to senior positions, despite obvious negative character traits, and how businesses achieve success even with these leadership eccentricities.
Here’s just one such story. I once supported a CFO of a newly-listed corporate in establishing the finance function. However, he quit just two weeks after I started work, and a month before the first quarterly reporting deadline.
With relevant CFO experience, I was asked by the managing director to fill in for the position, with the potential of taking on the role permanently if I was interested.
With only an inkling of the issues, I said I would need a day to assess and establish the overall financial position of the company and agree on targets. His response, however, was a screaming tirade – both personally and professionally directed at me – which the whole office was “treated” to.
I reacted calmly and asked: “Is this not a good time?”, but the question merely served to inflame the MD’s anger. A staff member observing the situation later said such antagonistic behaviour was not uncommon, but most employees reacted by being either submissive or confrontational.
I later learned the MD has a whole suite of other reactions to stressful situations. These include sobbing on his hands and knees in front of employees. Last I heard he has left the firm.