Bad Business: Employers and Employees Acting Out
While a free system of exchange is what we should honor and preserve, history has recorded countless abuses inflicted when the Fear-driven gain control. All men in positions of authority work to actualize their own psychological bias towards life or death. As I’ve said in trying consultations, “We can work to advance your business, or I can help you run it into the ground—whatever the hell you want to do.” As employees, we are just limbs. Such an arm can be alive and well, just wiggling away, while the rest of the company is on its deathbed. If the head is faulty, it will die, and it should die.
It never ceases to amaze me that the biggest contributor to a profit and loss statement—human resources—has nothing to do with profit and loss. Company presidents leave it in the hands of some amiable ink-blot specialist, restricts the hiring budget, and closes his door to the issue of manpower. Employees are then hired by the “low pay and high hopes” method. Quality is driven out while schooled incompetence and fresh inexperience is then allowed to destroy the company.
Many companies hire by degree, saving themselves the trauma of personal evaluation. But degrees don’t make money. How will a business fail if MBA is after the president’s name? Will it spiral to the left instead of the right? Smart managers assemble teams of the best available, whose selection is based on ability. To attract it, you must be able to identify it. To keep it, you must have the deepest regard for it.
Bad managers tailor their management style to their own cowardice, seeking the protective exoskeleton of a company’s structure to unwittingly obey. Fear impairs his ability to distinguish essential profitable actions from inessentials, so company policy and supplication replace his judgment. They bow above and backstab below, undermining those abler and training their subordinates to do likewise. Corporate dysfunction reveals the same elements found in Communism—the manic pursuit of the sure thing—which is what all Fear-driven men do when they are in control. Its people become dysfunctional due to low morale and misguided objectives, and no one can figure out why. The problem persists because often, upper managers were products of the “low pay and high hopes” formula as well.
Bad managers expect supplication—the King and Queen syndrome of old. They expect to be bowed to and to command the whip-driven slave worker who is not to be relied on to think. With no internal frame of moral reference, the fear-based mind panics and operates by the latest business fad. When spooked, he breaks that direction and goes off in another, leaving everyone lost without clear expectations. Employees must respond to his constantly shifting center of gravity.
He crawls before his customers, submitting to their will, rational or not. He rapes his suppliers, violating agreements and bullying, resulting in lower quality and stronger competitors. To him, no violation of ethics is out of the question—lying, pressuring, even annoying his customers to gain a sale, with deception, telemarketing, and personal invasion. He lobbies for unfair advantages and exploits international slave labor, to bar others from reaching markets he wishes to hold captive. This is predation instead of creation—using others up instead of respecting the universal pattern of life in turn.
If you are a manager, ask yourself: how many people did my company throw out of work in the last recession? Is my business now geared to shed employees fast, or to properly weather downturns without disrupting lives? Is there any reason to expect loyalty as a result?
Employees are equally prone to functioning from fear. The submissive employee acts like a captive, relishing any excuse to despise those above him. He seeks an exoskeletal frame as well, such as strict adherence to company policy, rank, or seniority, as substitute for his productive value to the company. He lies, steals, cheats time, and takes credit for the work of others, and when hostilities arise, he is defeated in advance, acting like a child being dragged away for a spanking.
Ultimately, rational employers pay for ability, so there is no need for employees to feel they hold a weaker position. We need each other. It doesn’t matter if employees are replaceable; employers are, too.