The Catalyst – Jim’s Why
One of the first things I’ve discovered when I tell people that I’ve co-written a book is that one question always tends to come up, “What made you write a book?” The truth is this book has weighed heavily on my heart for a number of years, and I decided, with Tom’s help, to finally put all of the pieces together to illustrate how damaging and costly a bad or toxic boss can really be. Though this story is negative, I assure you that the negative events depicted below had a profoundly positive affect on my life over the next decade and beyond.
Here is my story
As I drove home from the office one evening, I reflected on the day’s events. I was tired, beaten down, and discouraged. I had been asked to present an idea for an organizational change initiative to the leadership team. I was excited. I was finally getting respect from my boss. After all, I had been with the organization for almost eight years. I had already presented my ideas to him at a high level and received his approval to bring it to the rest of the team. My presentation was thoroughly researched and well-rehearsed.
When I demonstrated my ideas to the team, they were well received and generally accepted as a great direction for the department. The problem was my presentation and ideas were summarily dismissed by my boss with little to no discussion or consideration. It didn’t matter that he had agreed with my proposal just a few days before, nor that the rest of the team had great things to say about it. Instead, he pulled the rug out from under me in front of my peers with quick precision. I guess he changed his mind at the last moment. The surgical strike felt premeditated. After the meeting, several people asked me if I was okay after what had just happened. I said that I was, but I was not.
The truth was I was done! I had reached the end of my rope. I headed home with my head hung low in shame and sorrow. It was at that moment that I became the newest member of the 15%, an elite club comprised of employees who were actively disengaged in their positions. I had spent the previous eight years in a management position. I was liked and respected by my team and other leaders throughout the organization, but I could not gain the respect of the one person who should have had my back.
When I got home, I was angry. I told myself that there must be a better way. I left the company shortly afterward and simultaneously began my research on leadership in hopes of one day helping others realize that leaders do not have to be abusive. After over a decade of research, I realized the issue is far worse than I could have imagined. Bad bosses are workplace bullies, and they are everywhere. They have become a majority reason for a booming industry of headhunting, training, and much more.
At this point in my life and in my journey, I hadn’t thought much about what was happening, only that it hurt, and I was sick of it. I had been playing the victim for far too long, and it was time to make a change. I was looking for hope in every place I could find. Since that time, I experienced the transformation that we demonstrate in the book. I assure you, it works; I’ve done it myself and witnessed it in others!
I hope that our book, Bad Bosses, Big Business: How to turn PAIN into TRANSFORMATION provides you with an eye-opening glimpse into the harm that has likely befallen all of us at one point or another. I also hope it gives you the hope and the mental tools you’ll need to begin to change the culture in your workplace. As you read through the book, I encourage you to come back here often and continue the conversation. It is time to change our expectations of leadership, our expectations of how we lead, and our expectations of those who lead us. I also encourage you to share with your friends and coworkers; maybe even your boss if you are courageous enough. It is time for us to come together and #BanBullyBosses once and for all.