The Critical Boss

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My actions are the source of a lot of whispers in this office.


Because I like to criticise.

Business runs on one big secret. All employees tie their self-worth to their work. Most see their identity as being inseparable from their jobs. Me included.

But being a boss means my words hold power over my employees. What I say is directly proportional to how my employees view themselves.

Of all the things I can say to my employees, my favorite formulation of words is – criticism. I know, nobody likes it. But I will give you three compelling reasons.

First, I am very unhappy in life. I don’t find anything inspiring or exciting. The gloomy weather. The stress of business. My collapsing marital life. I don’t remember the last time I actually saw something remarkable. My overall mood, therefore, is crappy all the time. Though I pretend to smile and laugh. The corporate mask.

Second, praise is justified only if an employee has exceeded my expectations. Why should I praise someone for meeting expectations? Criticism, on the other hand, yields results. It will give me a better work product next time around. Praise makes employees feel good about themselves without burning themselves out. I don’t believe in easy gratification. I have slogged – others must too.

Third, and now this is something I don’t usually tell people; criticising others helps my ego. It makes me feel powerful. Sometimes I deliberately criticise employees and their work just to feel good about my skills. I like it when employees show some self-doubt within themselves. Especially the overconfident ones.

I also have an inferiority complex. I have always felt “not good enough”. When I want to feel good about myself, I criticise others. Sometimes I mock my employees. Obviously, I don’t mean any of it. But it is an impulse. I can’t help acting on it.

Some employees can take it. Others suffer. It’s an excellent way to weed out the weak ones. Business, after all, is about the survival of the fittest.


Food for thought: What do you think about this boss’ justification? What do you think is the optimum level of criticism in workspaces?

This post has been submitted by Nikki S, an aspiring author. If you would like to get in touch with her, please drop an email at

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2 thoughts on “The Critical Boss

  1. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. Its always interesting to read content from other writers and use something from other web sites.

  2. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. Theres no doubt that that you need to write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but generally folks dont discuss such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!

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