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Ruthless managers (see Table 7-1) believe that all is fair in love, war, and business, and that work entails a world war of all against all. Ruthless managers are unusually dangerous because they lack the moral inhibitions constraining most people and will therefore do things you would not expect. Moreover, because they are cold and calculating, you may not know that they are acting against you until it is too late.

Table 7-1. Overview of Ruthless Managers
SymptomsUnderlying FactorsImpactWays for Subordinates to CopeWays for Senior Management to Cope
Willing to do whatever is necessary to obtain an objective

Lack of remorse for hurting people


Lack of normal inhibitions (conscience) Lack of empathyInterferes with optimal decision-making

Destroys people’s confidence and fosters anxiety, depression, and burnout

Damages organization’s culture
Help them with their goals

Do not take it personally

Avoid provoking them

Document inappropriate behavior

Don’t let them know they are hurting you

Seek allies in coworkers and mentors

Seek executive coach to help you cope

Transfer out
If a hire appears to be too good to be true, he or she probably is

Check on accuracy of resumes

Close oversight of managers to continually assess their treatment of others

Do not automatically believe superiors over their subordinates

360-degree feedback

Place them where they cannot do serious harm

Consider getting rid of them



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