Is Your Boss a Jerk?

May 14, 2009

The boss was complaining in our staff meeting the other day that he wasn’t getting any respect. Later that morning he went to a local sign shop and bought a small sign that read:

“I’m the Boss!” He then taped it to his office door.

Later that day when he returned from lunch, he found that someone had taped a note to the sign that said: “Your wife called, she wants her sign back!”

Some bosses just don’t get the respect they deserve from their direct reports.

Maybe IT IS because they do not deserve the respect from their direct reports.

Once in a while a good book comes along. Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki is one of those books. You need to get a copy of this book. I enjoyed it from cover to cover. (This line sounds so familiar.)

In one of the sections of his book Kawasaki talks about bosses who are jerks. (actually Kawasaki uses another word that I consider as not too appropriate to use in this publication….)

Allow me to share his material with you as he has given me permission to do so.

Question: How many bosses does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: One. He holds up the light bulb and expects the universe to revolve around him.

Kawasaki says: Is your boss rude? Does he keep people waiting? Do they yell and scream at people and think they can get away with this because they HAVE gotten away with this? Society somehow tolerates these behaviours from the rich and famous.

Your boss is a jerk if he:

  1. Thinks that rules are different for him.
  2. Doesn’t understand the difference between a position making a person and a person making a position.
  3. Requires handlers.
  4. Requires the fulfilment of specia requests in order to be happy/productive/efficient.
  5. Relates to people primarily in terms of what they can do for him.
  6. Judges people by his own values, not the employees’ or society’s values.
  7. Judges employees’ results but his own intentions.
  8. Asks you to do something that he wouldn’t do.
  9. Calls employees any time of the day. (and not for emergencies…)
  10. Believes that the world is out to get him/her when faced with criticism or even omission.
  11. Slows down or halts your career progress.

If the company is progressive…. maybe they are the lead in their industry… If the pay is above industry scale… if the top honcho is dynamic and charismatic…. if the perks and the benefits are there and when good people leave, (the only exception of course is when there is an irresistible counter offer from another company or another place…..) then you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the main reason behind the departure is that these people bosses have not treated them right.


And guess what? These are the same jerks who would not want to attend leadership seminars and trainings in order to improve the way they lead their people.

Wake up people! These jerks are costing the company a lot of money.

Kawasaki says these mean-spirited morons are still running much of the workplace. Most nastiness is directed by superiors to subordinates. Not only do these jerks quell enthusiasm and stifle creativity, these jerks are the main reasons why good people leave their company and work for their competitors.

Leading people is a privilege and a responsibility.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu says it correctly: “To lead the people, walk behind them.”

Entertainer Dolly Parton says: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

But here is the best description of what a great leader is: He who is willing to be a servant as Jesus Christ Himself not only said but showed.

So to all the jerks out there….start acting like a leader but better still start BEING a leader.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. contessa lim

    if there’s someone who can testify on how it really feels like to work in a company that has this type of boss.. i guess it’ll be me

  2. Stephanie Tan

    Woah! That was a great one Mr. Kong! I’m one of your fans from St. Stephen’s High School and I really liked it. Thanks for sharing it. God bless!

  3. Lelet Castro

    Great light reading material to learn from, as a boss or as a subordinate!

  4. brando

    Every office has got a jerk. Look around, if you can’t find any, it’s probably you 😀

  5. Johans

    The company I work for is loaded with jerks like what Mr Kong stated, my dept. in particular is being ran and supervised by such jerks. Which is why majority of the artists in our dept have left for other companies of the same field….soon enough I’ll be joining them as well.

    Better tell these jerks to get off the rain, there’s too much of them already.

  6. richard

    for us to avoid jerks, start our own business and be our own boss….

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