Boss bashing and manager bullying: Pinstrip riveting?


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Text comes from: Unternehmen in der Psychofalle - Wege hinein. Wege hinaus: Mein Coach. Mein Therapeut. Mein Chef (2012) of Dr. Regina Mahlmann, published by BusinessVillage Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Managers are only too likely to be abused in Germany - because of excessive salaries, dismissals and wrong decisions. The most recent example is the expulsion of VWChef Matthias Müller. But are they really that bad or are you just talking bad?

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So is boss bashing

The media response to the expulsion of Matthias Müller at VW was great. One did not have to cry a tear for him, wrote the Bildzeitung. And the Süddeutsche reported his creeping departure. But are bosses and managers really as bad as their reputation? I would like to encourage thinking with this article.

One thing is certain: Chef bashing in Germany has a long tradition. Do you remember the “rivets in pinstripes”? That was the beginning or the highlight, depending on the perspective, of the first phase of boss bashing. Back then, executives were only considered incompetent. Even today. But this view of things has intensified today.

Manager in the crossfire

Managers and bosses especially like to be caught in the crossfire by the media when mass layoffs or other difficult decisions have to be made. "If the boss is an idiot," there is a need to identify a culprit.

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And it is quickly found: “Many superiors are an imposition”; Unfortunately, experts become leaders, do not learn how to lead, successfully use “elbows, selfishness and striving for power”, lack the “qualities that are necessary for a career leap” and can therefore neither be “confident personality” nor “the ideal boss” .

The boss as an idiot?

There are superiors idiots, here they are “stupid”: Tobias Schormann ironicizes “the stupid manager” who is “more sensitive” than you think and gives employees tips on how to avoid “eight gross mistakes in dealing with the boss” can.

But it goes even further: scornful insulting is no longer enough. Psychology is needed. Managers are not only stupid, but also mentally disturbed or sick. For example: “Narcissistic people often become managers without being particularly suitable.” and: “Mad types. Psychopaths ”. Psychopathologization is “in”.

Executives - caught in the Psycho Trap

Apparently, it is chic to cast leaders with psychological labels and turn them into neurotic, psychotic, morbid spinners that do mischief.

This is complemented by the suggestion that leaders almost necessarily suffer from a narcissistic disorder - and employees and Company suffer from: "I, the genius" as a formula for "overconfidence" and this in turn as "No. 1 occupational disease among managers".

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Chefs: Alpha animals in social Darwinism?

Insulting and psychopathologizing is not enough. The insult is added: Leading are often referred to as alpha animals - often accompanied by figures depicting monkeys (gorillas, chimpanzees). Enter the keyword into the search engine, which results in thousands of hits.

Among the offenders favorites include business people, footballers, actors, artists, politicians. A blog on the subject covers a few tens of pages and sheds light on how and where human alpha animals are seen as unavoidable, helpful, necessary, or as a social Darwinist outcome of fighting, as embarrassing, redundant, destructive, damaging, and preventing.

Narcissism can also be constructive

The labels Daffodil and Alpha-Animal are used in their abusive meaning. Scientific research, however, shows that both narcissism and alpha-animal aspects have constructive sides.

In order to discover these, however, one has to look at two things: the leadership context and the thrust direction. Once they expose the company and its success (and not employees), certain readiness, preferences, and abilities of both personality types or traits are welcome. Pay attention to that!

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German edition: ISBN 9783965960169

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Buy a book on the topic at a discount: Do you like this text and want more information? There is also a book, including this text, and you can purchase the book title here directly in two languages, as a member even with a 20 percent discount. Would you like to take a look at the book first? You can do this by previewing the book look at and then buy directly on the book page.


German edition: ISBN 9783965960169

6,99 Buy directly

English version: ISBN 9783965960176 (Translation notice)

6,99 Buy directly


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  1. Sandy

    Why can not the menu be unfolded on this page sometimes?

  2. Mauricio Pancho

    Fantastic, we have discussed this topic just yesterday on Facebook and now I find this post!

  3. Asa

    Oh, poor, poor bosses and managers!

  4. Julia

    I am a freelancer and regularly read your very helpful articles. A big thank you!

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