Employee intimidation by managers should never happen, but we probably all know that it does. It can be very devastating if it does happen. Just this morning on TV, they were talking about praise or punishment and discussing which one encourages self-esteem and success for children. A study dealing with praise versus punishment, concluded that praise works best. Intimidation and/or punishment does not work and has lasting effects on the person being intimidated.
The Effects Of Intimidation On People.
Have you ever been intimidated by a person in authority? How did it make you feel? Fearful? Are you afraid that you may lose your job or not be promoted or get your pay increase? You probably feel like a failure. You feel like you can’t do anything right. You are not certain about what to do next. No matter what you do you get chastised. Many people feel like just giving up. You certainly are not motivated to move on. Why keep trying? It makes people sad when they are constantly put down. Anger is another possible feeling related to this. In addition, most of the time, they can not retaliate or even seek answers as to why this is happening or how they can change things. They probably feel like they have no choices.
Why Does This Happen?
Probably the number one reason that managers intimidate their employees is because they are insecure themselves. It makes them feel better about themselves. I personally don’t understand how this makes one feel better, but apparently it does. Maybe the manager is in a precarious position with her job and she is afraid of losing her job. Perhaps she is insecure in what she does in her job and is afraid that she, herself, will not succeed. Interpersonal relationships with her staff may cause her insecurities and this results in the way she interacts with her staff.
Sometimes, the manager wants to look good in the eyes of her boss and administrators. In order for this to happen she has to make sure that the staff member does well. How the staff functions can be a reflection of how she functions. She may think that she is a poor supervisor if her staff does something wrong or does not succeed in whatever they are doing. If this is true she pushes the staff member to do her job well, so both will look good to administration. She becomes very hard on her staff, which adds stress to the staff member, which probably puts such fear of failing on this person that she fails.
I was watching a program this afternoon about a 600 pound person that was trying to lose weight in order for her to have weight loss surgery. The doctor wants this to happen, so badly for the patient’s sake that he becomes very intimidating to the patient. This adds so much stress to the patient that she begins to eat more which has been the way she has always dealt with stress. Of course, she gains weight instead of losing it and of course sabotages the outcome. The doctor does this to encourage and motivate her, but it doesn’t. The opposite happens.
I just want to add that most of the time, none of this is done on purpose with the intent to hurt the other person. Certainly the doctor did not want to hurt the patient and I am sure that in most cases the manager did not intentionally do this to cause harm to the staff member. He or she is probably totally unaware of the part that his own emotions and stress play in the way that the staff member is being treated. I, also, want to make a comment about children and how intimidation to motivate them effects them. Again, parents, do not do this on purpose and probably are not even aware as I mentioned previously. The sad part here is that there are long term effects for these children. This is going stay with them for the rest of their lives if things don’t change. Remember, praise is more effective.
Make Needed Changes
The manager needs to be aware of what he is doing and how it is effecting the employee. If he realizes that he is intimidating someone, he needs to ask himself why he is doing this and find a way to change this behavior. Once in a while the employee is doing something to annoy the manager. If this is true, the manager needs to talk with the employee and find a way for both of them to change things. If the manager realizes that he is having difficulties in his own life and is acting in a negative way he needs to find a way to deal with this and stop intimidating the other person.
Start behaving in a more positive way toward the staff and the work that the employee is doing. If, indeed, the employee is having difficulty doing something at work, spend some time reviewing the procedure with him and teaching him how to do it. If this is not the issue, and it is you that has the problem, then start being more positive and start praising the person when it is warranted, instead of finding fault with everything that he does. Give him some positive reinforcement and acknowledge him as a person.
If you find that you can’t do any of these things, then maybe you need to talk with your supervisor or someone to try to sort this out and make the changes that you need to make for everyone’s sake. At the very least you may make it very difficult for the employee and maybe even ruin the self-confidence that he did have. It may affect you professionally as well if the employee goes to your boss with complaints about the problems he is having with you. All of this can be changed before it reaches any of these stages.
Maybe management is not for you. Sometimes it isn’t. There are many other options that one has in nursing today. You can always go back to what you were doing prior to taking this position. Of course there are probably many other possibilities withing the facility that may be less stressful. Being a manager can be very stressful and sometimes nurses miss the direct care that they were used to doing.
There are, also, many nontraditional jobs in nursing today. Teaching might be an option. Homecare and work in insurance companies might be a choice. Sometimes nurses are just burnt out and need to do something else. There are more nontraditional jobs for nurses as well. One of them is to be an entrepreneur and starting an online business might be something that you would like to try. Here you are responsible to no one but yourself and you have a lot of choices within this area. You can continue to promote nursing and healthcare or start a business in something completely different that you are passionate about.
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The most important thing is to make sure that you are not intimidating employees if you are a manager. It is important to work together and find ways to support each other. No one needs to be intimidated. There are ways to work together.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.