There are just people who do not know how to manage well, and sometimes, these people are not even aware of it. We are talking about the bad bosses in our lives, whether that is you or someone you have to work with. Sharing with us her story and insights is Survivor contestant, Sunday Burquest. She talks about the time she quit from an unhealthy position while giving out the telltale signs that led to her decision. Figure out whether you are a bad boss yourself or someone who is caught in that situation, and identify the ways you could be leading wrongly as you move towards a manner that inspires and motivates rather than intimidate.
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Bad Bosses with Sunday Burquest
On the previous episode, we talked about New Year’s resolutions and we all start off the year with some great goals. Things happen and we start off with these New Year’s resolutions, but are we committed to them? I always talk about three things that are the non-negotiable things that you have to think about if you want to succeed. They are the believe, commit, achieve. First, you have to start with belief. You have to believe in yourself. You have to feel good about who you are. You have to feel good about the skills that you have. You have to have the confidence to go after your dreams. Everything starts with believe. You face a lot of adversaries. All of us do, in our lives, whether it’s people telling us you can or you can’t do this. You’ve got to be able to stop, take a step back and think about it from your own perspective. You have to believe in yourself. It becomes tougher and tougher when people don’t believe in you, but it all starts with you. You have to start with believe. Now, you have your goals. You believe in yourself, you feel that you have the skill sets and you know what you want to do.
The second thing you have to focus in on is commit. Things are not always easy. You have to push yourself. You have to work hard to try new things and to do things differently, especially if you want change to happen. The only way that things happen is if you are 150% committed to making things happen. Commitment is crucial. On the previous episode, we talked about wanting to lose weight. If you don’t commit to changing your eating habits, it will never happen. You can want to get healthier, but if you never go to the gym, you’re not going to see the results. You must select the things that are so important to you that nothing will stand in your way. Nothing will get you off track. Nothing will push that goal aside. That’s when you know that you are fully 150% committed. Without that, life happens. Things happen every day and we get sidetracked. Without that intense level of commitment, nothing will change. You first believe, then you commit.
The last thing is to achieve. Sometimes we give up before we achieve because things get hard. Sometimes we go from one thing to another and therefore we don’t achieve any of them. The key to achieve is to stay the course, to stay focused on the end game. Understand fully what that result is all about. What are you looking for? See it in your mind. It doesn’t mean that if you’re doing actions that are not getting you the results that you’re looking for, you don’t change those actions. Sometimes we think that something’s going to work and it doesn’t, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you throw out the goal. It means you change the action that you’re taking to achieve that goal. What you also need to do is you have to measure those actions along the way. You have to see if the actions that you selected are the ones that are going to work for you. The steps to success that I always follow is believe, commit, achieve. Take those steps and work with it as you continue to work through your New Year’s resolutions.
On the previous episode, I also had on Mike Brodsky and he gave a link to a free eBook. We talked about goals are big, goals are scary. You’ve got to see some success along the way and the only way to make that happen is to take it into bite-size chunks, to implement things in smaller pieces so that you can see some results and that you will stick with it. If you go on my Instagram @CarolynRivera14, I have a link that I posted with my motivation Monday posts so that you can get your free eBook. Just copy that link, paste it into a new webpage, download the book and you can take that and begin to use it to help you continue to focus on your New Year’s resolution. When you go to my Instagram and you’re going to look at motivation Monday, while you’re there, you might as well click the follow button. Start following me on Instagram so that you can benefit from the tools and techniques that I post on my Instagram every day.The only way that things happen is if you are 150% committed to making things happen. Click To Tweet
I thought I would talk about bad bosses. Whether you are the boss and you’re looking to improve your effectiveness or you’re the employee and are looking for ways to work in an environment where you have to deal with a bad boss, this show is going to help you. I like to use these real-life examples of people that have dealt with the situation. I threw it out to you and I got some great responses. They sent me their stories through my DM on Instagram and we’ll go through those. I’ll be sharing these stories with you. I have a special guest, Sunday Burquest. She is one of my Survivor sisters. How are you doing, Sunday?
I am fabulous. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. We’re talking about bad bosses. I chose this topic because sometimes people are new to their position and they don’t know what to do and how to manage people. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are bad bosses. I’m trying to give people benefit of the doubt here. Unfortunately, there are some examples of people that are bad at managing all together. I know you have a story. No names, just the situation. Tell us a little bit about the story so we can talk about it back and forth.
I worked at the same place for over twenty years. Sometimes you can get really familiar with people including your bosses and in turn, they’re familiar with you. After that long time, there tends to be a relationship that takes place outside of the workplace. Sometimes that’s where problems can come in. I have dealt with issues over the years with a manager and it all came to a head in two particular unfortunate meetings. The bottom line of it was that the meetings involved accusations regarding things that didn’t even take place in the workplace. They were personal and they were not true on top of it. One of the worst things that can happen to you is for your character to be maligned or attacked when you know that it’s not true.
That happened to me on more than one occasion, but this happened to be the last straw. There was an opportunity like, “Let’s come back the following week and discuss it to clear the air.” I can’t play better judgment. I thought, “I’m going to give it another shot.” I always want to give people a better put it out. Maybe it was a bad day. Who knows what’s going on? I did allow for the second and it went down exactly the same way. It came to the point for me where I got to decide. I’m 45 years old at that time and I don’t need to stay in a position that I don’t feel that I’m being treated or talked to in an inappropriate way outside of the work environment. That was a hard decision to come to especially after being in the same place for over twenty years.
You feel so betrayed because nothing happens at work. Something was basic hearsay from the outside that nobody was even part of. That is a tough thing to go through. I’m sure that some of the audience out there might have had or experienced something similar. Going through that and if you had to look back at that situation now, were there telltale signs along the way that as you reflected back, was it something that you missed and overlooked and just let it slide? Was it out of the blue?
It was not out of the blue. It is something I had run into on other occasions. Sometimes when you’re in a position, I feel that you have to weigh out for yourself what battles are worth fighting and which are not. You have to gauge your boss or whoever you’re working for and get it redone, get to know their personality, how they tick and be smart like, “This is a battle I’m not going to win. Do I want to go after it?” For many years it wasn’t, but it got to the point where I just decided that this is not okay and it’s not going to happen anymore.
You have to pick your battles because you’re up against a boss who has all the control over your work environment, your pay and your employment. You’ve got to decide, “Is this something I’m willing to fall on my sword for or can I live with it? Can I deal with it? Can I go into the bathroom, scream in the mirror and come back, put the smile on and keep going?” Those are some of the things. As you deal with difficult individuals, bosses make it a little bit tougher because they do have control over your work and your pay. If you think about it, it’s basic communication skills. These are the same skills that you would pick a battle with your kids. Is it worth fighting for? It’s the same thing with your husband or your friends or anything else. It is general communication 101. I thought we would talk about these stories because they do resonate with people and people have to deal with some of these tough situations every single day. You left the company after over twenty years of being there because of the boss.Sometimes, we give up before we achieve because things get hard. Click To Tweet
In the end, that is what it was. I tried to work through it. Not everyone is in a position where they could leave their job. I happened to be in a place in our life where I was able to and I’m pursuing other things, but not everybody has that option. I gave it the old college try for many years. I confronted it when I felt that I could and didn’t when I couldn’t. At some point, you have to have a boundary for yourself and say, “It wasn’t healthy.” I was having anxiety attacks in the parking lot and it was affecting my abilities as a wife, as a mom and in diminishing my confidence. At that point, I was like, “This isn’t okay.”
It’s not always easy. I want to thank you for sharing that story because it does help other audience to know that they have some things that they can do. You have to do something that’s going to work for you. Thanks for coming on the show and sharing that story with us. The biggest issue that companies have is that people don’t usually leave companies. They leave because of bad managers, bad bosses. You can have great people and a bad manager can destroy them. I talked about the fact that there were some people, some audience that wrote in and gave me some insights. This is a person who is a teacher and works in a school. The principal tells the teachers to drag the kids down the hall by the hand if needed. When this teacher said something back to the principal like, “I don’t think that it is legal. Do you still want us to do that?” The principal got annoyed and pissed off and then it turned out into being a bad scenario. Back in the olden days, the teachers would hit your knuckles with a ruler, but these days, there’s no touching. There’s none of that. Have you ever experienced any bad teacher issues?
Not too bad. I tend to be the parent that sides with the teacher. When there is an issue, I try to tell my kids, “Maybe they had a bad day, maybe something happened, maybe you misunderstood them.” There comes a point where you had to advocate for your kid. I have had a couple of situations that have been difficult. Teachers have a tough job. I tend to try to support them as much as I can but remember that they have a boss that they answer to. Some decisions are not even in their hands.
I started my career as a teacher. I worked in the New York City public school system for a couple of years and I have one story from a teacher perspective. It wasn’t a bad boss scenario. I was right out of college and I was super excited to be a teacher. I was gung-ho and this other teacher said to me one day when I was doing my lesson plans and I had everything outlined, she said that I needed to take it down a notch because I’m making them all look bad. I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me? Aren’t we supposed to be helping the kids here? Why should I take it down a notch? Don’t you think maybe you should take it up a notch?” That was not a bad boss, but that was a bad peer discussion which is all about the communication. Have you ever had an instance where one of your peers was like, “You’re working way too hard, just chill a little bit because you’re making us look bad?”
Not that exactly. You can’t work with people without having issues with peers. It’s not possible. It comes down to learning how to communicate properly and communicate with someone who wants to listen to what you have to say even when they don’t agree with you.
The key is you can listen. You don’t have to agree about everything, but listening is step one. No ifs, ands or buts about it. You got to do it. It’s active listening 101. It is basic communication skills. This one that I’m about to read is crazy. I’m going to summarize it a little bit. This guy said, “I had a boss who uses threats of a 6:00 AM Saturday conference call to push results. Any district below 80% on the customer survey results or below a certain amount of surveys that they get in will join me at a 6:00 AM on Saturday to discuss. This boss believes that he is successful in hitting all his targets when all he’s doing is driving compliance and bad behaviors. He jumps from one metric to another and they’ve not sustained results at all. It is the Band-Aid approach. The sad part is after working in this environment, you find yourself leading the same way. I’m trying to jump through these hoops of fire that he throws at each of us every week. I found myself leading in a manner that does not inspire or motivate my team at all.” This guy is saying, “If you’re not making your numbers, you’re going to have to discuss it with me at 6:00 AM on Saturday.” He feels that it’s a fabulous approach to motivating his team to do things great. What are your thoughts?
To me, that’s leading by intimidation which is the same environment I was in and I don’t feel that it works. You can make people do stuff for a little bit, but you are not gaining people that are going to be loyal to you in the long run or productive. I feel that you’ll get the opposite result and I don’t think it works.
Who wants to wake up every day and say, “I can’t wait to be tormented and intimidated at work?”The key to achieve is to stay the course. Click To Tweet
You’re doing so much damage to your own self in the long run. The opposite approach of a servant leader is where you’re going to get so much more from your employees. They’re going to be loyal. They’re going to want to go above and beyond for you instead of talking behind your back and not being able to stand you and going home and complaining about you every day.
You can do that and people will operate if they know that it’s not the norm. Sometimes you’re having a bad day, you get a little crazy at work and you make them crazy. They can deal with it. They’ll sweep it under the rug for this time. If it turns out to be the way you operate, then that’s when things don’t work. What drove me wanting to discuss this scenario is two things. One, we already said the intimidation factor like, “That’s not going to work.” The second thing that he mentioned was jumping from metric to metric. When you jump from one thing to the other, you’re not going to receive sustained results because people don’t know what they should be focusing on.
It’s like in your everyday life having ten plates you’re trying to keep in the air and you might do it for a while, you might do some of them okay, but you won’t do any of them great.
We talked a little bit about focus. You’ve got to have some focus on what the truly important things are because you’ve got to prioritize.
The leader has to give the direction and be focused themselves because people don’t know what to do and they get confused.
The last part about this is the part that I wanted to talk through which is, “I found myself leading in a manner that does not inspire and motivate my team,” because they were following what their leader was doing. Maybe it is the brand-new person that just became the manager and has this horrible boss and they’re taught the wrong way. They’re mimicking what their boss is doing to them, which was incorrect, to begin with, but they might not know that.
It all starts at the top and works its way down. If you have problems with your team, you have to point back to the leader and find out how they’re leading because that’s where the problem is starting.
At every organization, the culture is built from the leaders at the top and it goes down. How it filters down throughout the organization either creates an environment where they feel like family and they’re excited to go to work, they know exactly what to expect or it’s like they’re walking on eggshells and they never ever know what to expect.People don't usually leave companies. They leave because of bad bosses. Click To Tweet
I worked in that environment. It’s so hard to feel that you’re on eggshells. It sucks all the fun and joy out of your job and it makes you not want to go above and beyond for your company.
I had this boss. The job that I had was fabulous. I loved the job. I was running a call center operation in Manila and I loved the job. The people that worked for me were fabulous. My boss, on the other hand, was a disaster. The thing is, I knew it before I took the job because in the interview process, the people that would be my peers said to me, “Let me tell you exactly what this guy is all about. He yells, he curses, he does this and he does that. He’s psycho and crazy.” I’m like, “I’m from New York. I can deal with all of this.” I thought I was all that in a bag of chips. I’m like, “I can handle it. Come on, bring it on.” It was horrible. Most of the time, I took it until I couldn’t deal with it any longer. As he is cursing at me, I got queens on him and I started cursing right back at him. Then I thought to myself, “What am I doing? Why am I putting myself in this situation? Even though I loved the job, dealing with him was not worth it.” I don’t know if you had to deal with the verbal abuse that I dealt with. It wasn’t worth it and I wind up leaving the company because of it even though the job was something that I really love. That’s the hardest part.
If you are sitting in situations like that, the one thing I will urge you not to do is follow in the footsteps of the bad boss. Don’t recreate those bad behaviors and make them part of who you are and how you manage and how you lead other people because it doesn’t work. It’s not the right approach. I got sucked in that one time, then I reflected back and I said, “No, I’m not going to do that because that’s not who I am and I don’t want to be known for being like that.” I urge you to take a step back. Don’t get sucked in. You know what you need to do. Do the right thing. What are some of the things that bad bosses have in common? The thing that drives me slightly crazy is they don’t communicate. All issues start with communication and that’s why communication skills are so important. If you’re a manager, a boss, a leader and you don’t know how to communicate, you need to brush up on those skills. Communication is critical.
The second thing that bad bosses suffer from is this narcissistic attitude. The bad bosses think that everything revolves around them, that it’s all about them. Realistically speaking when you are a boss, it’s not about you, it’s about your people. Your job as a boss is to make your people great. What do you need to do to uplift your staff? How can you make sure that you are getting the most out of all of them? You need to understand a little bit about who they are and what’s important to them. If you’re thinking it’s all about you, you’ve got to change that mindset because it’s not about you at all.
This next one is something that I’ve dealt with also throughout my career, which is micromanaging other people. If you’re a boss and you hired people to do a job, the fact is you hired them for a reason. You felt that they had the skills to do the job. The only time that you need to micromanage somebody is if they’re having a problem, if they’re struggling through understanding what the goals and objectives are. If you’re hired to do a job and your boss is constantly over your shoulder watching everything that you do, checking in after ten minutes and an hour and trying to look at every single, solitary thing that you do, it makes them feel less valued. It makes them feel that you don’t trust them. Some people like to be in control. It’s part of their personality. They’re control freaks. If you know that that is the type of person that you are, then you need to figure out how to work effectively with your people. You need to set the boundaries where they know what their empowerment level is. They also know when it is that you want to come in and you want to take over or see what’s going on before they reached the next level.
The key here is don’t micromanage when you don’t have to. The only time you should be micromanaging is if you got burned before and you have to check in a little bit more frequently. Communication, narcissism and micromanage. The next thing that can be a little bit challenging is playing favorites. All of us have one person that they love at work. It doesn’t mean that you have to treat anyone differently. When you’re thinking of it from a work perspective, you have to look at what’s the job description, what are the expectations, what are the goals and objectives for that specific job. Treat people the same way. You can go out to lunch with somebody, but the bottom line is you can’t treat people differently. You must treat all employees the same because playing favorites will come back to bite you.
The next thing that I wanted to talk through is using fear as motivation. Fear and intimidation do not get people to get things done. That will not get people to go above and beyond. It will not be sustainable. It may work for a short period of time, but people hate it and they’re not going to want to work for you. Eventually, they’re going to be looking for other jobs and finding different places to work because they can’t deal with it. Those are some of the examples of things that bad bosses do. You don’t want to fit into that category. We talked about real life scenarios about bad bosses and we’ve all had them in some way, shape or form. We may be those bad bosses, but it’s never too late to change. Now is the time to reflect back. Take a look at how you operate now. You grow up and you work for people that are bad bosses and you don’t know any other way. We talked about ways for you to change, to communicate effectively, to not think of yourself. Think about the people that you work with that work for you. If you hire people to do a job, then let them do the job. Don’t micromanage them and don’t use intimidation to motivate people because that will not work.
Think about how you would evaluate your own self as a boss and adjust your style if needed. Focus on what it takes to get people to want to achieve their goals. That’s motivation. Think about what they need, not what you need. As a leader, it’s all about them. I have to read this because I was super excited when I put this out and ask for people to dial in and give me some examples. One person wrote on my wall, “I just need to say you are an amazing leader, Carolyn. Such a difference between a boss and a leader.” I had tears in my eyes when I was reading that one and this is the last one. “Many years ago I worked with someone indirectly. I was more in a support role and was in charge of providing support for supervisors, directors and VPs. This person taught me my leadership trust, hustle, grit, how to work harder and even push myself. I grew as a person, a leader and an entrepreneur. What I learned helped me grow to other companies from Braze and now to IBM. It was because of Carolyn that I am who I am now.”
When I read those, I had tears in my eyes because that’s what leadership is all about. If you can see other people succeed, then you know you’ve done the right thing and that’s what you need to do. Shift things away from you and think about what your people need to be successful. My passion is to see leaders be more successful, to help them see what their actions are doing and how they are affecting their people. On the next episode, I’m going to have a special guest on and we’ll be talking about how to push yourself. Eric Sprinkle is going to be my guest and remember, The Carolyn Rivera Show is all about the audience. Follow me on Instagram @CarolynRivera14. If you are ready to ignite your will to win or reprogram mindset, go to my website www.CarolynJRivera.com. Send me a message. I want to see and hear people succeed. Helping you achieve more than you ever thought possible is my specialty. Remember, believe, commit, achieve. It’s the secret sauce that you’re looking for.
About Sunday Burquest
Her tenacity along with her trust in the Lord has empowered her to fight through some of life’s biggest challenges. In April of 2012 Sunday was diagnosed with breast cancer. During the yearlong treatment process, she leaned on her family, friends, and faith. Her determination to win this battle kept her from allowing cancer to have the upper hand. She was given a clean bill of health the following year.
Shortly after earning the title of breast cancer survivor, Sunday auditioned for and was eventually cast on the Emmy award-winning reality TV series, Survivor Millennials Vs Gen-x (2016). From deaths in the family, her husband’s near-death experience, breast cancer to competing in an intense physical and emotional game for over 30 days, Sunday not only survived, but she discovered her inner-strength, she found her grit.