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February 18, 2019

There's a more healthy way to handle your bully boss

Bully Boss
Bully Boss

 Experiments and even casual observation show that we dread fear more than pain. The first time that a baby receives a vaccination injection, they are oblivious to the pain that will come and do not understand what the injection is or what the nurse is about to do.

By the next clinic visit things change and the baby will be acutely aware that being undressed to be weighed is a precursor to pain, much as it is good for them. Experiments on adults show that human beings prefer actual pain to the thought of receiving pain.

It reaches the point where the anticipation of something unpleasant happening can lead us to make very stupid and irrational decisions. When the fight or flight system is activated in the brain, the choice is just those two, cool logical, creative thinking disappears. It is therefore surprising to find, quite commonly senior managers in organisation who lead by creating an atmosphere of fear, what are they trying to achieve?

The bully boss who tries to intimidate everyone under them to do things may get things done in the short term, but only because people are doing things running away, in flight mode, but in the long run people switch off and the organisation gets exhausted. Fear mongering, bullying and throwing weight around is never the way to get people to cooperate to solve problems.

 The human body has some key large organs such as the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and stomach who have enough authority to bully other parts of the body to get the job done. Consider each briefly.

The brain prides itself as being the epicentre of the body and often behaves like it makes all the decisions. The only other organ that regularly interrupts the self loving brain is the stomach, which every so often especially when low on food demands attention. The heart makes its presence felt whenever you pull it out of its’ comfort zone, and sets certain conditions if it is to work properly, exercise being among them.

The liver is a large organ concerned primarily with chemical engineering breaking down and cleaning up the mess the stomach and the whole body create as they go about their business. Take in too many chemicals and the liver is overwhelmed, a hangover being typical symptoms. Even though the liver is busy it does not beat the kidney for efficiency and work output. And it is very rare that the kidneys bully the rest of the body to get work done.

 The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist found near the middle of your back, either side of your spinal cord just below the rib cage. They are part of the urinary system that filters and disposes of waste and excess water from the body.

Each kidney is made up of up to one million filters called nephrons that every day enable the body to filter 100 to 140 litres of blood in the process producing one to two litres of urine. The kidney receives about 20 % of the heart’s output every minute and is an important organ in the system that manages blood pressure.

 When people work in an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, stress is a common problem. Petty tyrants who create such toxic cultures are themselves often illogical non-independent thinkers, full of their own insecurity.

They focus on showing that they are working rather than working. They want those under them to follow orders without question, and end up hiring those with sheep like passiveness. What such managers forget is an environment where the blood pressure is deliberately raised through bullying, eventually damages the very organs that maintain the system.

When the kidneys fail long term there is often no other remedy other than dialysis or new kidney transplant, both very expensive options. Franklin D Roosevelt, US president once said that there is “nothing to fear but fear itself”. We cannot always control what happens in the environment around us, but we can control how we respond to it.

We spend much of our time in organizations working, the culture within these organisations affect our health. Spend five years complaining about a bad boss who bullies people are five years that you could have managed your blood pressure better. The event is now, but the consequences can be long term. If the manager cannot take a leaf from the kidney to create an atmosphere that allows others to work; be a leader and point it out, but do not live in a toxic environment.



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