The Great Morale Dampener

All work, no recognition makes Jack a dull boy

This variation on the old proverb should be made a workplace motto. My recent Psychology Today article deals with a bad boss trait that at first glance seems relatively innocuous, more a nuisance that a threat – bragging. Well, if your boss just self-promotes by exaggerating his own achievements, or constantly faces off with his peers arguing about whose department performs better, it’s truly not the end of the world. You can even find it amusing, and something you can laugh about is not that big of a problem. As a persistent tendency, it can be annoying and may cause your respect for your boss drop a few notches, but it’s hardly something to loose your sleep over.

But it’s a whole different bedtime story, one with a potential of giving you nightmares, when your boss is using your achievements to promote himself, without sharing any credit. Recognition of success, by higher-ups as well as peers, is a benchmark of moving ahead, it’s what promotions are built of; being deprived of that could feel like a dead end. Finding oneself in that dispiriting situation can rob employees of any motivation, turning them into office zombies, immune to any inspirational efforts. It can even force some to quit.

In the article I offer recommendations on how you can help your boss follow another well-known proverb: Give credit where credit is due.

One more good source of TOT-taming tips: the recent article Have a Bad Boss? Treat Him Like a Toddler, by Cindy Perman. It revisits some other bad boss traits that can make your work life annoying and shows how to steer your boss in the right direction.