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Bullies Layoffs Threats

How should we deal with a manager who keeps threatening to lay us off if we make the slightest mistake? Our company has had some layoffs lately, and our manager has told us several times he is on the lookout for names to add to the next round. How can I deal with him?

The most obvious name to add to that list is your manager's. If his idea of leading and motivating the troops is to wander around the floors and rattle the layoff sabers, he has a long way to go before he is even ready for an introductory management course.

There is no question that fear can be motivational, at least on a short-term basis. There is also no question that managers who use it generate high levels of employee dissatisfaction, distraction, resentment, and even sabotage. And further, when managers tell employees that they will be let go if they make mistakes, many employees react with stress, nervousness, and anxiety, and the result is more errors.

One approach that may help is for you and some of your associates to meet with your manager and let him know about the impact of his comments. Let him see your unwavering commitment to preventing errors, as well as the steps you are taking to deal with mistakes if they occur.

On a broader basis, your company's staggered and uncommunicative approach to layoffs is a key part of the problem. As part of the discussion with your manager, let him know that you are not interested in hearing any more threats, but you certainly would like to hear more about the company's staffing goals, plans, and expectations.

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