Being a meaner boss will help your company

Managers are often afraid to pull rank

Denis Wilson at Fast Company has a fascinating piece on how being a not-so-nice boss will make your company better. Wilson notes a 2011 study concluding that disagreeable people are more successful, earn more money and are perceived as better leaders. Paralysis can also set in when a company’s culture becomes too consensus-driven:

Nice people tend to be too considerate and afraid to initiate structure, which can be trouble for a startup trying to establish itself as a legitimate business. Livingston cited Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as a good example of someone who realized that if he wanted to continue as the creative, likable boss in flip flops, he needed to have a bad cop around to bust some heads. “He hired [Sheryl Sandberg] from Google, and she whipped everybody into shape. They were pretty chaotic before that.”

Read Wilson’s article, “Why Being A Meaner Boss Will Help Your Company—And Make Your Employees Happy,” at Fast Company for insightful tips on building structure and monitoring employee performance. Share in the comments any stories you have on the plusses and minuses you’ve experienced when working for a “mean” boss.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/13/2012 - 12:27 pm.

    Under our current rules of economic engagement

    Not only do meaner bosses make more money for their company, the companies that do best are those that routinely destroy communities through downsizing and by outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries. Companies that routinely underpay women also make more money.

    Underpaying your employees is a critical part of this formula, and I think it goes without saying that “nice” people don’t do any of these things, but then again nice people didn’t lobby Congress to gut our employment laws, fleece investors or create our current kleptocracy in which only top bosses and banksters get to keep any of the wealth created by working class Americans.

    So yes, this study is exactly correct. Our laws have been rewritten to give the rotters an edge over decent human beings, and our economy reflects that bitter reality. A sane America would reregulate the financial sector, eliminate tax loopholes and would actively prosecute tax evaders starting with the accounting and investment firms that manufacture phony tax dodges.

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