Management Articles


10 Things That Can Happen When You Have an Executive or Manager Who's Out-of-Control

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

41% of US workers report having witnessed or experienced incidents of yelling and verbal abuse in the work place. Nearly 30% report having done this themselves. What's the result? Companies are referring executives and managers for Emotional Intelligence training. If not, here's what can happen.
  1. The executives and managers make poor decisions and use poor judgment because their thinking is clouded by emotion.

  2. They lose credibility and respect which makes them ineffective as leaders and managers.

  3. Employees are more stressed, take more sick leave (“absenteeism”), or come in sick and get little done (“presenteeism”).

  4. Productivity goes down due to low morale, and the “hijacking” that occurs when employees are yelled at, maligned and verbally (and nonverbally) abused – or witness it.

    When hijacking occurs, the employee is flooded with emotion and can't think.

  5. The company gets a reputation for being a bad place to work.

    Good employees leave. Good people don't apply. This has a huge negative impact on the future of the organization.

  6. Communication is poor.

    Deadlines are missed and work product is low because fear and anger cloud the emotions and employees can't process information clearly. Seeing superiors modeling low EQ, employees resort to this themselves, gossiping and spending time dealing with the emotional challenges rather than working productively.

  7. The toxic environment generates fear and mistrust which in turn produce rigidity and decreased ability to generate alternative solutions to problems, decreased ability to apply creativity to work problems, and resilience in the face of challenges.

  8. The executive or manager fails to get the feedback they need, because employees are afraid to deliver bad news, or sometimes even to communicate at all.

    Because each employee wants to be out of the line of fire, a culture of shame and blame, silence and intimidation develops. The focus becomes CYA, not fixing problems and moving forward.

  9. Burnout increases.

    Worn down by a toxic environment, employees lack the resilience and optimism needed to be change-proficient in today's fast and constantly changing workplace. On-the-job accidents may increase as focus is lost.

  10. The potential for costly lawsuits increases.

    Studies show that juries in lawsuits (who are themselves workers just temporarily serving jury duty) believe this abuse exists, expect companies to have policies and procedures in place to deal with harassment and bullying, and expect them to take action on incidents which are reported. If a program is put into place only after an incident has occurred or a lawsuit has been filed, jurors aren’t fooled, and they have a chance to express their displeasure during the damages portion of the trial.

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2004

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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