The scarecrow, cowardly lion and tin man are characters in The Wizard of Oz.  They are also a caricature of the types of bosses that employees encounter all too often in the workplace.  We all have experienced them and hopefully survived them.

The first one is the boss without a brain only he or she does not know it or at least they never acknowledge it.  They take credit for other peoples ideas and work.  These bosses are easy to isolate because whenever they pass along an idea that does not work they are quick to blame the person where they got the idea.  Trouble is that kind of credit is one way only.  Whenever you hear something like that happen you need to ask who gets credit when there are good ideas.

Aah yes, next is the cowardly lion, my favorite, the manager who has no spine.  They never defend their employees.  Employee advocate is not in their vocabulary or behavior.  There is a Japanese proverb that says the nail that stands up gets hammered.  This manager is not going to take a beating for their employees.  I would not want to be on a sinking ship with this kind of person.  What they do not realize is the nail that gets hammered ends up making something stronger.

The boss without a heart is so sad.  Because they actually think having a heart means being soft and soft is weak.

Unlike the Wizard of Oz this story does not have a happy ending.  I wish I could say these kinds of managers do not exist in real life but they do.  My advice is when they are exposed they need to be shown the yellow brick road.

Tom Cairns

co-host JobTalk1