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Bad Begets Bad

Bad managers aren't born, they're made by other bad managers.

When I was at a previous studio, I had a theory based on conversations (negative ones) with one of my managers. This theory has continued with me through my various transitions within our industry from place to place. Essentially, the idea goes like this: bad managers aren't born, they're made by other bad managers.

What, you ask, spawns these creatures? Well, a manager’s intuitive system of management is shaped by his or her interactions with authority figures. That is, if an individual has a manager that screams and shouts, he or she will be more inclined to scream and shout when placed in a similar position.

To some degree, this is what we call social learning. We are learning through our interactions with a social climate. If our manager does well and is promoted for yelling, for bending the knee to his superiors, then we may become predisposed to following suit--whether consciously or not.

I was reminded of this while reading Emotional Awareness. The Dalai Lama proffers: “In the monastic community, the monks live with their teachers. If a student happens to have a teacher who is very harsh, then sometimes the student repeats that pattern when he becomes a teacher.”

Ekman notes that the level of absorption is dictated by an individual’s ability to be self-aware. That is, employees or children that are more capable of introspection and identification of their own mental moods and emotions are more capable of breaking away from the examples set by their mentors (whether those mentors be voluntary or involuntary).

Have you seen this in your workplace? Life? How can we “break the cycle” of maligned or poor management and inject new, fresh ideas and perspectives?

About the Author

Andrew Andreas Grapsas is a game programmer at Arkadium, Inc. developing casual and social games. He previously worked at THQ and EA as a systems and gameplay programmer on triple-A shooters.

Andrew is actively writing and programming for various projects. You can read more articles exclusively at his blog aagrapsas.com.

Follow Andrew on twitter!

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