Insecure bosses can pull organisations down

Having the best man for the job usually delivers desired results (Leaders watching the bottom line help SIA stay on top, by Mr Lionel Loi Zhi Rui; June 20).

However, in other organisations, having an insecure person in authority may be the problem and this could affect the productivity of many of these organisations.

The manner in which bosses interact with their subordinates has a bearing on company profits, productivity, and morale as well as customer satisfaction.

The least productive workplaces tend to have bosses who use up to three negative comments for every helpful word of encouragement.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

The root of the problem lies with an insecure boss who insists on absolute control over the entire organisation, and refuses to delegate any real authority or empower any subordinate as he trusts no one.

Besides constantly interfering with the work of the employees, the boss jealously guards his position by treating every question or hint of criticism as a challenge to his authority.

Paranoia causes him to enlist the help of informers.

A leader who lacks confidence will frequently remind employees who is the boss, as he is aware that he does not command their respect.

Outstanding subordinates who exhibit a mind of their own are constantly criticised, and usually receive an average or even poor appraisal to keep them in their place.

Insecure leaders prefer to promote average subordinates as they do not pose a direct threat to their position; these stagnant workers are obligated to and dependent on their leaders' authority as a result.

Such leaders will postpone making decisions.

There will be continual reviews and amendments that add nothing to the quality of work. The boss' indecisiveness will usually result in delayed submissions or failed projects.

When mistakes are made by an incompetent boss, he will blame it on someone else simply because he believes that he has the authority to do so and has to be right always, as he is the boss.

The organisation will fail if a paranoid leader does not change his ways.

So, for some companies to stay on top, what they need to do is have a good hard look at their leaders, rather than its processes.

Simon Owen Khoo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Insecure bosses can pull organisations down'. Print Edition | Subscribe