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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

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