I was procrastinating this morning and ended up watching a video that featured Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr Wonderful) as he waxed poetic about being a Bosshole. I never thought I would see someone actually be proud of this.
In leadership parlance, one of the marks of a good leader is someone who is sensitive to and works to promote morale in a group. The opposite if this is a Bosshole, which the Urban Dictionary defines as “an employer of a particularly evil nature, completely devoid of empathy or concern for anyone else. the deadly hybrid of boss and asshole.”
Many organizations seem to tolerate Bossholes if they get results. In many cases it may be the dirty little secret of organizations that they keep the morale destroyers on staff as long as results pour in.
So then does morale really matter or is it only results that matter? Is it OK to be a Bosshole as long as you get results? Does bad morale necessarily lead to bad results?
I think the key is that it isn’t necessary to be a Bosshole to get good results. Since it isn’t necessary and there are nicer ways of getting the same results, then why would anyone want to be a Bosshole? The thing about Mr Wonderful is that he seems to want to be a Bosshole.
The reason they stick around, is that Bossholes are excellent at managing up. They don’t care about managing down. So they keep on rising up the ranks because they consistently deliver what their boss needs, rather than worrying about what their staff needs. Their boss is probably a Bosshole too – and he or she probably appreciates how well they manage up to them. And said Bosshole probably has a few Bossholes reporting into them as well, helping them drive those results for their department. Beware the Bosshole! Bossholes breed bossholes. So any organization that has at least one, is bound to have countless others….and a terrible culture to-boot!
I have images in my mind of Bosshole farms churning out legions of mini Bossholes.
In regards to O’ Leary, I think he plays up the Bosshole angle because it makes for great television, kinda like the villains of wrestling. The crud of that is that he is seen as a role model to business executives, giving excuse for existing Bossholes to act like even bigger Bossholes – Dixecutives, if I may, working their way up to C.E.A.
Challenge: can you thing of any Bossholes who led their company to the brink of ruin, or who were disgraced in business tabloids? Is Bossholism truly an effective management style?
I hope we get to see some more posts for this theme.
If you want a Bosshole who succeeded and then failed then “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap of Sunbeam fame is a good one.
Just did… glad I didn’t work (or get fired by) that guy. But he only made #9 on Time Magazine’s top 10 worst bosses:
Man! There are some not-so-borderline sociopaths/psychopaths on that list! Scary.