Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mutiny, Fragging and Firing your Boss

A recent article in the North Jersey record recounted the story of an employee, a climber of sorts, who worked hard and managed to get herself a promotion. But according to management consultant, John Mckee, she suffered from two of the seven deadly sins: greed and gluttony. The executive, McKee states "believed she was capable of more than the others around her, and they collectively, somewhat unconsciously, ensured she would fail until she was unable to get anything done. ... She was indeed let go.''

What happens when the sheep don’t like the shepherd? On May 8th, I wrote about the World Bank staff commencing a blue ribbon campaign against their boss, Paul Wolfowitz. Obviously the sentiment that your boss is incompetent is relatively common though may not get expressed so overtly as at the World Bank. According to a 2003 survey of 826 Human Resources directors by Right management 40% of new leaders fail to meet expectations. And that’s from the corporation’s view point. It would certainly be higher from the employee’s.

Aside from blue ribbon campaigns and sabotage campaigns is there anything an employee can do to get rid of the boss? has an article on how to fire your boss. It suggests documenting bad behaviour and taking it to HR or the next level of management. They also suggest that the employee not let the boss’ actions get to them, thus taking away the boss’s steam which will eventually have them quit.

Of course in other venues, waiting that long could prove fatal and workers found other ways to deal with the problem. For example in the Vietnam war, the term "frag" was used to describe killing an " unpopular officer of one's own fighting unit, often by means of a fragmentation grenade. A hand grenade was often used because it would not leave any fingerprints, and because a ballistics test could not be done (as it could to match a bullet with a firearm). A fragging victim could also be killed by intentional friendly fire during combat. In either case, the death would be blamed on the enemy, and, due to the dead man's unpopularity, it was assumed no one would contradict the story."

Of course, the concept of Mutiny is not new and has been used in the military and merchant marine worlds to describe the crew turning against the captain. Our own Hudson’s Bay being named after a ship captain who was set adrift by his crew in 1611.

By somewhat more peaceful means, aribtrator Elaine Newman, in a case between Tenaquip and its union, determined that she had jurisdiction to order the company to fire its supervisor. The union alleged that the supervisor had engaged in a course of harassment assault and batter against an employee and the employer had thereby created an unsafe environment.

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