Memo To CEOs – Time To Fire Monster Managers?

Attention CEOs in corporate America and around the world: whether you know it or not, there are “monster managers” lurking within the confines of your company. These mid-level managers and front-line supervisors can turn a productive workplace into a cesspool. However, you might not know it because monster managers aren’t always easy to spot from the C-Suite.

There are three important reasons why executive leadership and management should fire monster managers (as I call them):

1) Lost Productivity
2) Legal Liability
3) Bad PR & Brand Image

Put simply, monster managers not only poison the work environment but also cost companies countless dollars in lost productivity. These unsavory characters can make an employee’s work-life miserable, resulting in less engagement, lower job satisfaction, plummeting morale and increased absenteeism – all of which are detrimental to the performance of any organization.

This usually occurs when brave workers who are victimized by brutish bosses publicly “blow the whistle” because they just can’t take the abuse anymore. But this doesn’t occur often enough.

Moreover, monster managers can wreak legal havoc for a company, cause bad publicity and taint the important brand image. This usually occurs when brave workers who are victimized by brutish bosses publicly “blow the whistle” because they just can’t take the abuse anymore. But this doesn’t occur often enough. Usually, the targeted workers suffer in silence. That’s why executive leadership and management need to play a greater role in identifying and banishing these monster managers from the workplace.

Derailing Productivity

While it’s true that some monster managers make the proverbial trains run on time, they also prevent the team from doing its best work by derailing employee productivity through fear tactics and abusive behavior. Some targeted employees might be so intimated and afraid that they hide in restroom stalls or dive under their desk when the monster manager is lurking nearby. Although most savvy companies foster positive work environments on a macro level, it’s likely that at least a few mid-level monster managers are causing big trouble at the micro level. That is, behind the scenes and without the knowledge of the C-Suite.

But what defines a monster manager?

They can often be described as malicious, vicious, insidious, toxic or draconian in their actions toward targeted employees (among other choice words). Most monster managers fall under two broad categories: bullies and bigots.

The Bullies

Bullying bosses abuse their management authority by abusing their employees. They isolate staff, then divide and conquer by targeting certain workers for management abuse and others for favoritism. The bullying is always based on non-job related superficial factors. Monster managers might bully staff with an abundance of malice under the guise of micromanagement. They use multiple fear tactics, including – but not limited to – the following:

  • Intimidating employees with frequent loud verbal outbursts ridden with expletives and crude physical gestures.
  • Humiliating victims by demeaning them during staff meetings or in the halls in front of co-workers.
  • Clock watching and obsessing over minor infractions in time and attendance, rather than focusing on bottom-line results.
  • Constantly looking over their target’s shoulders, literally and figuratively, for the smallest mistake or excuse to castigate them.
  • Disciplining staff unnecessarily based on irrational reasoning for minor mistakes — or lambasting employees for no legitimate reason at all.
  • Playing “mind games” by consistently contacting (stalking) workers after hours, on weekends, holidays, vacations, sick days, etc.
  • Dumping asinine assignments and laborious administrative tasks on senior employees when lower level staff should be handling it.

Such shoddy management maneuvers eviscerate any semblance of employee motivation, job satisfaction and loyalty to the company. Monster managers make the workplace a dangerous place for their victims and co-workers, resulting in lower overall performance by individuals and the team – which negatively impacts a company’s bottom-line results.

The Bigots

Some monster managers thrive on harassment and discrimination. Bigoted managers may harbor racist, sexist, ageist or homophobic views which manifest within the office setting. They target innocent and hardworking employees for unlawful reasons based on non-job related factors such as race, color, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy, etc. Monster managers might sexually harass female or male employees, both verbally and physically. This can include young vulnerable workers in their first jobs who are unaware of their employment rights and open to exploitation.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, monster managers often resort to knee-jerk reactions via retaliation against targeted victims who speak out or exercise their legal rights. Monster managers usually favor mentor and promote only selected staff based on frivolous or meritless reasons (such as, they look and act like the manager or constantly “kiss up” to them).

Even in a diverse workplace, some bigoted managers might use racial, ethnic and sexist slurs to harass employees behind closed doors. Employees who are subjected to such discriminatory tactics often dread going to work and are prevented by the monster manager from doing their best work for the company.

Wreaking Havoc & Fear Mongering

All of the aforementioned unprofessional, unlawful or unethical conduct by monster managers is obviously not conducive to a positive and productive work environment. A healthy workplace is one in which all employees can reach their full potential by harnessing their unique talents and abilities.

In essence, monster managers hurt the bottom-line by wreaking havoc and fear-mongering in the workplace under false pretense. The result is an unhappy job environment with panic-stricken staff doing substandard work. That’s why CEOs and the C-Suite need to ensure that monster managers are identified and permanently ousted from the workplace.

The only thing these killers of productivity deserve is a pink slip. That’s also why employees need to do more “whistleblowing” and less cowering to management abuse.

Your thoughts?


David B. Grinberg
David B. Grinberg
David is a strategic communications consultant, ghostwriter, and literary PR agent on issues of workforce diversity, equal employment opportunity, race and gender equity, and other social justice causes. He is a former career spokesman for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he managed media relations for agency headquarters and 50 field offices nationwide for over a decade. Prior to his public service at the EEOC, David was a young political appointee for President Bill Clinton in the White House: Office of Presidential Personnel, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A native New Yorker and University of Maryland graduate, David began his career in journalism. You can find David online via LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Good Men Project, Thrive Global, BIZCATALYST 360°, and American Diversity Report.

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