Insidious Ways Bosses Are Ostracizing And Getting Rid Of Employees

When we think of bosses pushing employees to the point of quitting, we often imagine the stereotypical aggressive, yelling, and toxic manager who publicly berates their subordinates. However, there are more subtle and passive-aggressive approaches that managers employ to get workers to leave. Tactics such as window seating, ultimatums, performance improvement plans (PIPs), and stack rankings are used to quietly fire employees.

Window seating refers to a managerial tactic where an employee is intentionally isolated from the team by their superiors, both physically and in terms of work assignments. This person is left to sit alone and gaze out the window, uncertain of their future in the company. It is essentially a form of "quiet firing," where a supervisor subtly terminates an employee they don't like. This is done by withholding appreciation, recognition, and important opportunities from the employee. The act of purposely excluding them from meetings, and internal communication chains, and taking away their work creates an uncomfortable and awkward situation for the targeted worker. The manager's intention is to push the employee to the breaking point, hoping they will eventually quit on their own accord. Being isolated from peers, ignored by the boss, and stripped of meaningful work, it is only a matter of time until the targeted employee succumbs to the mistreatment and stress of the situation.

What makes this tactic treacherous and alarming is that it is difficult for the victim to complain to senior leadership or human resources. There is no tangible evidence of mistreatment like yelling or name-calling. The victim is left feeling gaslighted and psychologically abused, with their self-worth diminishing. This can make it challenging for them to find a new job, as their confidence has been eroded. Moreover, they can also forget about a positive recommendation from their former employer.

If you find yourself in a window seating situation, it is important to stand up for yourself before it is too late. Speak up to your oppressor, although it is unlikely to yield positive results. In such cases, it is advisable to escalate the matter to human resources or someone more senior in the organization. If none of these avenues prove effective, it may be time to start searching for a new job. It is crucial to take care of your mental health and well-being during this challenging time. Remember that you are not alone, and many others have gone through similar experiences. If the situation becomes overwhelming, seeking help from a professional therapist or psychologist can be beneficial.

In addition to window seating, there are other passive-aggressive methods managers use to quietly fire employees. For example, some bosses employ ultimatums, where they present employees with a choice to either commit to a new and demanding work standard or leave the company with a severance package. This way, the manager avoids directly terminating the employee, and the worker self-selects out of the organization. Another tactic is the implementation of performance improvement plans (PIPs) and stack rankings. PIPs supposedly identify areas of improvement for struggling employees, but they are accompanied by the implicit threat that failure to meet expectations will result in termination. Stack rankings involve evaluating employees' performance relative to their peers rather than based on their job description. This often creates stress and anxiety, pushing many employees to seek new job opportunities.

Employers have significant power over an employee's compensation, work assignments, and career advancement. A good boss recognizes this power dynamic and strives to be fair, supportive, and motivating. They champion their team's growth, learning, and advancement. In contrast, bad bosses exploit their power for their benefit, disregarding their employees' well-being.   

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