I have through these columns conveyed the beauteous nature of human behaviour in the context of the wider subject of management. I have extolled the presence of positivity in human kind, particularly when it engages with other humans. Expanding upon this premise, a manager engages with a very wide spectrum of the human resources of an organisation. Just as managers have positive attributes they are also likely to possess negative traits. Today the piece is about cruel and wicked managers.
For any student of human psychology and behaviour, it will be an absolute fallacy to assume that there are no negative tendencies in humans. It is good to believe that wickedness is the first absolute of the devil. But to think that it is not of humans is to live in ivory towers. I have never wondered the seeing of a wicked manager, but I have often wondered to see them not ashamed at all. Since they are shameless, they are graceless. When nothing is good for them, nothing can ever be bad. To be an absolute wicked person also requires a certain degree of courage and a similar amount of venom.
There is no evil that does not offer inducements. Avarice promises money, luxury, a varied assortment of pleasure; ambition, a purple robe and applause. Vice tempts you by the rewards which they offer (Seneca). Wicked managers! Are they not in existence? They are a plenty. They roam in the corporate corridors, sometimes rarely though with a red face and mostly with a blackened heart. Will these wicked managers be an extinct species ever? No, they will remain in full supply in every workforce. I say so because, ‘the wickedness of this world is so great you have to run your legs off to avoid having them stolen from under you’ (The Three Penny Opera by Berthold Brecht).
Wickedness emerges from the evil that inhabits a manager and these could be, amongst other, avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride. Just imagine the personality of a manager who is devoid of these tendencies- he shall be a fountain of unlimited perpetual force of peace and harmony on the shop floor. He is likely to bring to table, great maturity and abundant opportunity for excelling.
Magnanimity is a virtue; the wicked manager cannot see. Manager who belong to this ilk, first spoil and soil themselves before they begin to spoil others over a period of time, savagery will be their forte. Wickedness is always easier than virtue for it takes short cut to everything (Samuel Johnson).
Those who light the corporate fire end up fighting that fire and normally end up in its ashes. It is a matter of choice of glaring preference to either an obstinate virtue or an accommodating vice. The non-wicked managers are quick to recognise that the seeds of destruction are all resident in the womb of negativity. They shun negative responses to challenging situations; for they know a wicked response would end them up being wicked to themselves, someday. The wicked manager would be found to be living in isolation. He will keep information and decisions very close to his chest. He will be mostly unwilling to disclose motives, options and alternatives. They rarely speak to their own selves, lest someone overhears the ‘internal conversations’. Since negativity is the bedrock of their thought process, they tend to not recognise what Anton Chekhov had said, “Using vile to attain worthy ends makes the end vile.” By wicked acts, a manager may reach some of his aims and not all of his spiteful ambitions; a wise manager never resorts to such means.
While managing multiple types of human resources, the managers fail to recognise that feelings are the most genuine path towards knowledge of human psyche. Wicked managers are at war with themselves so how can you expect them to be at peace with others. Intellect can never help against feelings for making a choice between alternatives, which is the primary function of a manager. Those with a deceptive bent of mind will always attempt to commission evil through the omission of good.
A manager if he is prey to his emotions can never remain in the arena of rationality while making judgement calls on his everyday managerial issues. Those who pride on springing surprises on their colleagues, with their damming decisions are managers who you would find are always engaged to build their wickedness upon the nobleness of others. Managers of such breed will resort to impulsive and abrupt decision making with total abandon and disregard to the feelings of their colleagues.
Their language is also very different. They never shy to use foul adjectives in their conversations. They bring to play words of import that are near to being insulting, humiliating and demeaning. Their tongues wag like the tyrants.
The mean and wicked manager will invariably convey bad news (bad from the standpoint of the recipient) during the last working hour of Friday with a view to burden and cause misery to the colleague to ensure that their weekend is ruined and the family is devastated by its impact.
I subscribe to breaking bad news, if any, to colleagues on a Monday, so that the corporate bruise heals by the weekend. No colleague should be left alone to nurse his corporate wounds in the home environment (non-corporate) surrounded by concerned family members. That done, is a despicable act.
Wicked managers are oblivious to the power of goodness that can create ripples of happiness, far and beyond the hierarchies. Replace wicked attitude with caring and you have at hand an extremely productive workforce.
The writer is a freelance columnist