I was very interested in the article about oppressive bosses, because as anyone who has had employment knows, it is very difficult to find a reasonable and competent leader in the workplace. At least, that has been my experience. Some of the people for whom I have worked have clearly had “issues” that interfered with their ability to manage people. For example, I once worked for a man who was very insecure, it was understandable because his mother had committed suicide when he was a child. Nevertheless, this problem interfered with his interpersonal relationships with his employees in significant ways. For example, whenever people gave notice because they had found a new position, or were leaving to pursue other careers or education, he became extremely passive aggressive. It didn’t take a psychology degree to understand that he had abandonment problems, he made people so miserable during the time that they were in the process of winding down that went far beyond appropriate.
In another job situation, my boss had difficulty remaining an authority figure, wanting to be friendly with the staff and becoming extremely jealous and threatened of our own peer relationships. He felt excluded whenever we went out to lunch as colleagues are inclined to do, as a way of coping with job anxieties and pressures and letting off steam. We were not able to do that he was present, because he was our supervisor so that we were naturally more constrained and filtered around him. He became extremely punitive and sulky whenever we would return from these lunches, and would take it out on the staff being extremely critical of work performances on those particular days.
The best boss I had was a man who actually behave like an adult at all times, was very professional, and gave no indication of what personal issues he might have had both inside or outside of the workplace. He did not need to feel that he was equal terms with the staff, and was comfortable being a manager. My experiences in the workplace have shown me that this is a rare situation.