Dr Zaffran Shahzada

The imminent launch of ‘The Devil wears Prada’ on DVD has mirrored real-life bosses from hell, as indeed it is based on a true story. Executive development coach, Dr Zaffran Shahzada believes these tyrannical bosses that breathe fire belong in films or the Victorian era…

The nasty boss seems to be getting somewhat of a revival. I am sure many people having watched this film can see similarities in the characters to someone they have known or worked with during their career…successful business people often do suffer from lack of work life balance, which can then affect their communications methods – on some levels we can try to understand why people are the way they are, but on others we really need to have the confidence to draw the line…

Nastiness seems to be everywhere – Game shows seem to be cashing in on the whole ‘Nasty’ angle with the likes of X- Factor judge Simon Cowell, hot headed chef Gordon Ramsay on Hells Kitchen, and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revell-Horwood. Where we used to hate the harsh feedback that contestants were meted out, in the subsequent series we find people siding with the nasty remarks, as it’s all entertaining stuff…but is this harmless fun or in fact fuelling a nation of nasties?

We’ve seen in the news recently court cases coming to light that prove this kind of behaviour is making it into the workplace…..employees suing bosses for psychological bullying is a can of worms that will soon become an epidemic.

Perhaps people may soon start to manipulate this, but there are very real effects of stress, nervousness, sleeping problems, issues of low self-esteem and breakdown of relationships, that come with being a victim of such behaviour.

I see it as being high time to identify that just because a boss is a boss, that doesn’t give them the right to behaviour that would be unacceptable in any other circumstance — and this needs to be grasped from both employee and management. Proactive moves must be made to ensure out of order behaviour is not accepted as the norm, as in the long run it’s detrimental to all involved.

The potential of happy, productive staff is truly immense, something I’ve seen through working with companies from the NHS to new businesses, to large corporates. The potential of an effective boss is even more so.

In many cases bosses could be stifling the potential of their team, and the ensuing business benefits, completely unintentionally. It can often come down to a subconscious level of not having faith in management systems, so the boss feels the need to micro manage everything themselves — what follows is a time management crisis that manifests as an aggressive, cold or even nasty style of management, then aggravated by staff missing targets, employee sickness or daily obstacles.

Ultimately, we spend a great deal of our waking time at work and owe it to ourselves to do what we can to make this a positive experience — if the good days are outweighed by the bad days, life’s too short to take this.

If the Devil wears Prada in your office it’s most definitely time to take stock.

For advice on how to deal with such situations contact Zaffran on zaffran@imagineaction.co.uk, or 01274 532391.

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