The bullying boss — What happens when managers abuse their positions?
They scream, threaten and terrorize. Many Saudi employees report less than admirable relationships with their bosses. Frustration and sadness is a normal part of working life because of the abuse employees face from their managers.
The turnover rate of Saudi employees is high when the boss is abusive, and many say they are not satisfied and happy in their jobs because managers either micromanage every assignment, exploit their position, or mistreat their employees.
Such pressures at work lead to bad performance and, ultimately, employees leaving their jobs.
A talent acquisition manager at a Saudi recruiting company, Haneen Zuhairy, said managers who interact negatively or abuse their employees usually do so for several reasons.
The manager may have a tough personality, or it could be the employees themselves. Sometimes the subordinate is a better performer than the manager, so the manager will be tough because he knows that his employee is a better worker than him and could take his place.
“The result of such an action would be a less productive or less loyal employee,” Zuhairy said. “The employee will leave once he or she finds a another opportunity. The recruitment department of the company will do the hiring process again not because anything was wrong in the process or the employee was not qualified, but because the manager was abusing the employee.”
Employees who are suffering under poor managers will often try to avoid interacting with their bosses, especially because interacting with them creates stress.
Fayhan, a private sector employee, explained that he has worked under a demanding manager for two years and a half. His manager always overloaded him with work, and he delegated all small and difficult tasks to Fayhan, so he tried to avoid seeing his manager.
Mohammed, a Saudi dentist who did not want his last name mentioned, said: “My manager used to treat me badly. He used to pressure me at work and give me overtime work. Sometimes he gave me more patients, while the dentist responsible for those cases was free. Because of my boss, my productivity and psychological condition have suffered. In the end, I started rejecting some of the cases that he was giving me. Eventually I left to work in another place.”
A Saudi school employee, Fatimah, said her female manager do not trust her employees and she is suffering from delegation issues.
“My manager deals with the employees without any trust. Anything we do we should get back to her and ask her about her opinion. She always tries to separate us. She also believes that being tough and rude is the best way to manage, and observing employees the whole time is the way to get good performance. She also exploits the employees by getting them to do work not related to the organization,” she said.
Before resigning from her job, Fatimah said she was always frustrated and under pressure rather than being creative and happy. The negative work environment affected her personal life, especially when it comes to her relationship with her daughter.
“I used to work with this manager before in another school and she was different,” Fatimah said. “I do not know what changed, but when we transferred to the new school, her actions altered. At the beginning, I used to follow her and do whatever she asked, but at the end I tried to avoid her. And then, I resigned. Not only me but several other female employees have quit, even the one who was working in the school for more than 12 years.”