Workplace poison and injustice….don’t allow yourself to become trapped!

She let hardworking, efficient staff go, under a cloud, in favour of an immature, lazy young manager who took time off for reasons of ‘stress’, leaving a dirty, under – stocked kitchen, for those who actually showed up for their shifts. A manager who consistently stirred up trouble, cleverly disguising her motivation, presenting the colleagues who challenged her in a bad light. And when the staff who actually gave a s**t departed, the owner said “Right, now we’ve gotten rid of the back – stabbers, bull – sh*****s and nit – pickers, we can get on with things.” And yet, the biggest threat to her business remained, validated and protected. Why??

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Well, there are a few reasons. The business owner in question was not really a business – woman. Opening a business is one thing, genuinely developing it and aiming for excellence, is another. And the business owner had no real interest in or passion for the business…..it was just an ‘opportunity’. She also wasn’t smart enough to recognise when she was being manipulated, and allowed flattery and so – called friendship to influence her judgement. She was damned lucky her business wasn’t investigated and closed down, because she was, at that time (I have no idea about the current state of play), breaking a number of laws, largely due to her manager’s lack of experience, maturity and commitment. And she was lucky one of the poorly – treated and under – appreciated departing staff members didn’t report her. 

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He treated his staff, and his customers, with equal disrespect (unless he fancied them). He allowed his love life to interfere with the running of his business, and even the act of theft wouldn’t lead to a sacking. He just couldn’t be bothered to deal with it. But the staff who were loyal and hard – working were not valued, and in fact, those who quietly got on with their duties, to the best of their ability, were taken for granted and ignored. He creamed the profits off the business to fund his life – style, allowing the premises to fall into disrepair. Customer satisfaction and service was of no interest to him. Even the most valid complaint was met with dismissiveness and denial, and a “there’s the door if you don’t like it” attitude. But people continued to work for him, and spend money at his establishment, though I am not sure why!

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He was often angry and reactive with his staff, warning them that he had depression and a huge number of problems……leading them to tread on eggshells around him. He didn’t allow too much talking, or back – ground music, and the day would pass slowly and painfully! And of course he had a high staff turn – over, and a list of complaints about each and every one. 

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You know, some people just do not deserve to be in business! Paying the lowest hourly rate that is legally possible, expecting employees to jump through hoops, whilst being grateful they have a job, is absolutely not good enough! Developing a business should be an exciting experience. Yes, there will be huge pressure and stress to bear, and there are no guarantees of success. There will be lean times as well as buoyant times……but that is all part of the process. And yes, there will be staffing problems periodically. One of the complaints made by the first person I spoke about was that ‘people just don’t want to work…..I struggle to get decent staff’, and I didn’t entirely disagree. However, she wasn’t giving enough reasons for decent staff to hang around, and I was at a loss as to why she couldn’t see that. 

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Everything starts at the top, where business is concerned. A business is a wonderful and precious thing, and the staff are the absolute heart and soul of it. And if an employee is not enhancing the business, of course action needs to be taken. But bad management and poor attitude are killers, and an employer has a duty of emotional responsibility to his/her staff. Most people don’t just want to earn money, they also want to thrive, and to feel appreciated and valued, to feel a part of a success story. And the interesting thing is, the first person I mentioned, at the start of this blog, had been miserable for years as an employee, hence her desire to work for herself……and yet she became the very thing she said she wanted to escape!

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Unfortunately, employees can become trapped, believing they are stuck. They fall into a quiet despair, turning up for work, but not always giving their best (if they are being completely honest with themselves). They hear others saying “there are no jobs out there”,  and so they become resigned to their fate. Of course, if an individual takes this stance, they need to shake themselves up and quit falling back on excuse – making  (anyone who has spent years sending out CV’s and knocking on doors, before finding a new job, can testify that although the process can be difficult it is not impossible). However, employers need to remember that, whether they are business owners or managers, an important part of their duty is to nurture and develop their staff. Without staff, there is no business. And owners need to be mature in attitude, to be above becoming embroiled in work – place politics, cliques and tit – for – tatting. And above fobbing employees off with attitude or insincere promises. And above reacting defensively if appropriately challenged. Supplying a job is only the first step in a much bigger process……a process that demands so much more than far too many employers are willing to give. As an employee, don’t sell your soul for a meagre weekly income. I promise you, with the right attitude and approach, with self – belief and persistence, you WILL attract an employer who will be honoured to have you on board! #badmanager

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