Bad Boss Part 5 | Power Dynamic

There are tons of people out on social media giving business advice. Some of it is good advice, but most of it isn’t good. In this new series watch CapForge’s owner react to different advice videos. He’s an expert in all things business and has 20+ years of experience under his belt. Some of the things he reacts to might even surprise you!

CapForge Founder and Owner Matt Remuzzi reacts to another bad boss story, this time it involves a pyramid scheme and unfair power dynamics.

Video Transcript: 

Okay so here’s one on bad bosses, bad manager behavior that I’m gonna talk about for a second. So the the story goes “I’m gonna talk to you about a jerk boss who started selling Amway from his office. He was pressuring all of the staff to buy stuff and imply that people buying from him and/or join him in the pyramid would benefit from it (they get raises extra vacation etc.). He also tried to get the company to start purchasing through his side business.

I reported him and when HR asked him if it was true he said ‘Sure, do you want in?’ Bam – escorted out the door.” 

So the bigger problem with this is when you’re a manager or when you’re the owner you automatically have an unequal power position, right? You’re able to directly influence someone’s pay or whether or not they even have a job. So naturally they’re not gonna react to you the way they would if you were just friends or partners or whatever. They’re going to have to give some consideration of the fact that you have the power to cause them harm and they don’t necessarily have the way to reciprocate to defend themselves. So if you come to them and say “Hey I want you to buy some you know Girl Scout cookies”. or “some Tupperware for my Tupperware party”, or Amway in this case, they don’t have the same ability to make an independent decision like somebody on the street would, or a friend would, or a family member would. And tell you “Yeah you know I would be interested in that” or no in most cases “I don’t want your crap. Please don’t ask me again to buy it.” They’re gonna have to think about it a little differently and that’s obviously inherently unfair. 

You’re using your position whether intentionally or not, but it’s hard to imagine most people don’t understand this, to coerce them to do something they don’t really wanna do. Even if they end up buying your stuff they’re gonna kind of resent it if they didn’t really want it. Which is probably what you would imagine would be true in most cases. And it really upsets the power dynamic there, and they’re interested in being motivated and working hard because they feel like they’re being taken advantage of, which they are. So if you’re in a position to be an owner or a manager you have to be very careful with how you behave and not inadvertently make somebody uncomfortable or feel coerced or feel like they’re put in a position where they have to do something even if they’re not wanting to do it. Because they feel like it could jeopardize their job or promotion or time off request or whatever it is. So you should be aware of that.

Everybody I feel like who’s in a management or ownership position should go through some kind of training to be aware of how to act in that position. Obviously, that doesn’t really exist and most people miss it. Some people are good at it naturally but some people are terrible at it or just don’t understand. And those are the people who end up in stories like this on forums and Reddit threads and whatever about horrible bosses because they’re exactly the kind of jerk that we all wish the world had less of. So just another example. If you find yourself in a position where you’re in charge of people or you have an uneven power dynamic and you are the one with more power, just be sure that you treat that very carefully and you don’t take advantage of it and you don’t use it or abuse it in ways that you shouldn’t. Because it will come back to bite you sooner or later. And I feel like this guy probably got the exactly what he deserved, not just because he got sucked into a pyramid scheme in the first place, but then he actually lost his job over it. So hopefully you learn something from that but now you can learn something from it without even having it happen to you.

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