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Ade Olabode: A Practical Guide on How to Treat Your Employees



Ade Olabode_2Horrible bosses. Nobody likes them. They make the office a place to dread, reduce staff productivity and generally make everyone’s lives miserable.

However horrible bosses are not ghosts. They’re business owners like you and I (I run Prognostore).  Who also happen to play an integral role in our society by providing jobs, goods and services. So how then do we reduce or eliminate those things about them, that makes working for one so soul-wrenching? I think the best way is to list out the top things that employees find especially annoying:

Things not to do

Call your staff rude names
It might sound obvious but calling people that work for you ‘stupid’, ‘idiots’ or worse is a no no! If you’re angry over an issue or performance of a task, it’s still no excuse to verbally abuse your staff.

Even pet names should be treated with caution. That lady that frowns every time you call her ‘Kekere’, might just be doing so because she genuinely hates the nickname.

Paying Salaries Late
It’s unfortunately a common occurrence to find employees in Nigeria being owed salaries. And for some employers, when they pay, it’s much later than the agreed pay date.

So it’s worth remembering that people have given up their time to work for you, in exchange for wages. They also have families to take care of and bills to pay. So your refusal to pay is always going to have a huge negative impact on them.

Converting to domestic/personal helper
Are you the type of employer who wants your accountant to pick up your child from school? Or you think its okay to send your marketing manager to buy your lunch? Or maybe you see nothing wrong in asking your secretary to type your son’s school project?

There has to be a clear distinction between company duties and personal errands. Your employees should not be used for your household administration. Don’t be that type of boss.

Yes, it sadly happens. People routinely physically assault folks that work for them. Secretaries, drivers, receptionists are not surprisingly some of the usual recipients of this unwarranted treatment.  However, bosses have been known to physically assault even senior executives of their organisation! No one is safe from this type of bosses.

Now before you say they might have been well provoked, or circumstances might have warranted hitting someone at work. I would say, that’s still no excuse. Violence at work should not be on the table no matter the situation.

Unwarranted Attention
In theory, two consenting adults can have a relationship even though one of them happens to be the employee of the other. In practice, a lot of employees who find themselves under the romantic attention of their boss report that they feel coerced. Or forced into the relationship against their will.

Now this is a grey area. However, if you’re a boss and you’re in the habit of engaging in romantic relationship with your employees, chances are that you’re a horrible boss. Fix it.

Conscript Staff Personal Resources For Corporate Use
It’s an acceptable practice all over the world for employees to use their funds to get things done in the course of carrying out their work/duties. What’s unacceptable is for them not to be reimbursed for doing so. Unfortunately this is too common in Nigeria, where bosses expect you to do things out of your own pocket. And then when it’s time to pay you back, it becomes a struggle.

Mandatory Overtime & Holiday Work
The expectation that people should stay behind at work, even when not busy is a national problem. It appears that this is a toxic mix of keeping up appearances/eye-service. There’s also the tendency to stop staff from taking vacations, despite the fact that they’ve earned it.

Are you one of those bosses who frown when your direct reports stand up to go home at 5pm? Repent from your ways and start to make changes from today.

So there you have it, folks! Did I miss anything out? Do feel free to share in the comments. And please share this post, so horrible bosses don’t miss out. Thanks!

Papa Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He's the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (, the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He's a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode


  1. goddessofvictory

    June 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Don’t have an affair with your staff.

  2. g

    June 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    @Ade Olabode

    Good afternoon Sir. GREAT article, THANK YOU for the ADVICES and stay BLESSED 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Call Me Gorgeous...

      June 29, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Advice is fine….
      There is no plural for the word…
      You are welcome!

  3. Tosin

    June 28, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Everybody has a part to play to be honest; learn to fire any boss that crosses the line loool. Don’t support tyranny. Without minions, the tyranny won’t work. Can I hear an amen?

    • Zedzed

      June 28, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Amen amen raised to the power 1000.
      Ps: Tosin I always look forward to your comments. They are the best 🙂

    • Bodunade

      June 28, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Me too.. @Tosin your comments are the best.

    • Anonymous

      June 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      I love you and not just because you taught me maths in my first yr at uni. Haha!

  4. sisi eko

    June 28, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Hello Ade, Great write up! Please Hammer very well on the Unwarranted attention issue, for the gravity of the problem, I feel you just brushed over it. It should be an absolute NO NO in any circumstance. consenting adult or not.

    Please come to the comment section and hammer on it very well

    • Ade

      June 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Hello @sisieko I thought I stressed and ‘hammer’ on the point enough ?! But one can’t be too sure and I definitely agree with you that’s it’s a No No for a boss to indulge in such affairs.

  5. tech

    June 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Bellanaija,
    I have sent various posts on tech or digital marketing you never acknowledge them, or state the way you want contents . Do you have certain criteria’s for posting on your platform?

  6. Ema

    June 28, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Well written, i had a boss that portrayed some of these quality mentioned.

  7. Chu

    June 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    SMH for those that say 5pm on the dot you are out of the office, when you don’t have anything extra to do. Meanwhile they will raise hell if you are 5 mins late in the morning.

  8. Nelo

    June 28, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I will add chauvinistic bosses. Or a boss who complains when a working mother has to close at regular working hours to go take care of her family.

  9. Adio_Braimoh

    June 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Nigeria my country! Where the activity of employers are not being check mate. Many outrageous activity goes on in the labour market in other to meet ends means. A situation where there’s no agreement at the time of employment that there will be deductions from your token salary, and there comes pension & tax deductions with no remittances. A situation of private firm owing a staff 5 months salary with no remorse. A situation of comparing a staff with employer children. Hmmm so pathetic!

  10. Spunky

    June 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Chineke! Did you meet my previous boss?

  11. Bodunade

    June 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I had one of the worst bosses ever, worse than the horrible boss in horrible bosses lol.
    Dude complained about everything, he didn’t like that I looked him in the eye when he talked, or that I have my hands in my pocket when I’m just standing randomly (I am/was a shy person so it is /was one of the habits I developed trying to overcome all that)
    Dude even complained about my religion (Jehovahs witness) so many times. Any time I got close to the office in the morning I’d have a mini heart attack.
    I didn’t even say anything to anyone. one day, I didn’t go back to work. Went to the head office to submit my ID card and resignation letter.
    Was really tough afterwards and all but I’d rather be alive than just die from harassment.
    The guy even gave me query for something that happened while I was on leave. When I asked him why he just laughed and everyone found it funny.
    Sadists are real. It was hell. Thank God for life abeg.

  12. LemmeRant

    June 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Are you a Nigerian Company, if yes? Why is your pricing in dollars?

    • Ade

      June 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Hi @LemmeRant we’re a company owned by Nigerians but happen to have customers in other parts of the world – apart from Nigerians. So the prices in dollars is for them not for Nigerians. So nothing dodgy going on in respect to the pricing. Thx for checking us out ?

  13. tee

    June 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Very nice write up.
    Your site looks too foreign (sigh)

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