Seems that way, because another corporate icon—the ogreish boss—is about to bite the dust. Reports The Wall Sreet Journal:
Indeed, the yelling boss appears to be quietly disappearing from the workplace. The new consensus among managers is that yelling alarms people, drives them away rather than inspires them, and hurts the quality of their work. Some bosses also fear triggering a harassment lawsuit or winding up as the star of a coworker's cellphone videotape gone viral.
Many of us who have slaved in law firms remember at least one terror-inducing partner. It used to be a rite of passage—sometimes even a badge of honor—to work for someone with that type of reputation. It was like surviving boot camp—something that would toughen you up for the profession at large.
Though more outwardly tranquil these days, is the office a happier, more productive place? Not exactly. Anger and frustration still reigns in the workplace. But instead of direct confrontations, people are venting through emails, which, one expert told the WSJ, "tends to inflame conflict. It takes a very corrosive role in the workplace, for gossiping and undermining others."
And all of this suppressed anger takes more time to manage. "Managers spend about 25 percent of their time resolving conflicts," reports the WSJ. Moreover, "all this guerrilla warfare is causing workplace conflicts to drag out longer than they did 10 to 15 years ago," said Steven Dinkin, president of the nonprofit National Conflict Resolution Center, to WSJ.
So what should you do if you're angry with an underling or work for a screamer? The WSJ gives a few tips, such as waiting 24 hours before you criticize an employee, or listening carefully to the screamer and then answering in a calm fashion. In the worst-case scenario, a mediator might have to be called in.
Would a law firm spend time and money on a mediator? Are you out of your tree?!
Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic, but I have a hard time believing that tyrannical bosses, especially in the law firm context, are in danger of extinction. Sure, I know some firms are more civilized than others, but I doubt most law firms can afford to rein in an abusive partner if he's got oodles of business.
Am I wrong? Are the partners at your firm really nicer now?
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