The People Pro® Blog

Do You Work for a C-Gull Manager?

By Barbara Bartlein

This energy sucker waits until you have put considerable time and effort into a project and then flies in and craps all over it.  He soars away as quickly as he came, leaving a huge mess to clean up and a demoralized staff.  Like seagulls, you never can be quite sure when he will swoop in to disturb the process.  In fact, part of his modus operandi is to catch his victims unaware.  He is not beyond grabbing other's finished work, credit, and recognition.  He is a corporate bully and is tolerated by the organizational culture.

The c-gull is often a mid-level manager with little experience and even less talent.  He is trying to make his mark within the organization by convincing others of his authority and expertise through his flying/crapping behavior.  Must of his activity is an effort to justify his position to upper management.  The flapping of his wings may include useless meetings, routine reports that no one reads, and flurries of memos and e-mails to demonstrate his productivity.  He is an expert at kudo loops, that annoying habit of multiple e-mails in response to anything from the boss.  He wants to create the impression that the team would be unable to accomplish anything without him.

He takes credit for other people's work to impress the higher ups.  In his eyes, this is perfectly OK.  After all, he led the team to success, right?  Self-centered and arrogant, he has little insight into how his actions affect other employees.

C-gulls bully the people who report to them and even those who don't.  Often they exemplify a type of corporate bullying in which employees are viewed as disposable and can be treated however management sees fit.  Supervisors may be under pressure to get mor and more work out of people at any cost and with any style of management.

The following questions can help you evaluate your work situation:

  1. Do you dread going to work?
  2. Do you feel intimidated by the boss or management?
  3. Have you ever been yelled at?
  4. Have you been corrected in front of other people?
  5. Do you feel that you are frequently criticized?
  6. Have you ever felt that your work was sabotaged?
  7. Does your boss gossip about you or share private information?
  8. Have you been made a scapegoat or accused of something you did not do?
  9. Do you feel your best is never good enough?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it is time to look at the work culture where you are employed and deal with the C-Gull differently.

For more information on dealing with Energy Suckers, order Barb's new book:  Energy Suckers-How to Deal With Bullies in the Workplace

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