Webster’s definition of brutal reads: “extremely ruthless or cruel, crude or unfeeling in manner or speech, harsh and unrelenting, disagreeably precise or penetrating”. Many of you know people like this:
• Their words often reflect anger, resentment, intimidation, arrogance and/or impatience.
• They hold others accountable for a level of perfection that far exceeds what is reasonable or necessary to do a job.
• They believe that a brutal management style is THE ONLY WAY to motivate people.
• They were similarly supervised by past bosses who were rewarded for their conduct.
• They believe that their job title gives them the right to use this management style.
Historically, companies have accepted a variety of management styles within their management teams. If someone questioned the use of a brutal style, the response was often “that’s just the way he or she is – get used to it”. Even H.R. departments said “we have talked to that person and they refuse to change – there’s nothing else we can do”. This is especially true if that person was a friend of someone in management.
There is rarely a connection made between a brutal management style and the bottom line…and the culture…and management’s credibility. I believe this connection has a direct impact on all three, but remains one of those barriers to performance excellence and change that is rarely addressed, often for political reasons.