A Frank Talk With You, Boss

Welcome! I'm so glad you made it. Make yourself comfortable.

You're probably wondering why I invited you. You're in for a treat. You see, this is your annual review, the one your boss never gave you, the one that really matters.

Don't get up. This isn't going on your permanent record. It's just between us, one professional to another. In reality, I guess you could call this an intervention. As with any wake up call, I'm doing this because I like you. You have so many gifts. But you've lost your way. And frankly, you're doing more harm than good these days.

This is going to be hard to hear, but I'll say it anyway: People don't like working for you anymore. Go ahead, grumble, cross your arms, look away from me. But remember Tom—the guy who left for a promotion? He didn't want to burn any bridges. He really thinks you're a condescending _ _ _—well, I'll spare you the pejoratives. And then there's Kerry. It's no secret she's your pet. She has plenty to say, too, when she steps out of character. That's right, it's all an act, every day for years. Talk about commitment. She puts Robert DeNiro to shame.

Surprised? There's more where that came from. I'm just speaking up for those who can't. We understand how companies work. You'll still get away with everything. Always have, always will, fair or not. And maybe you don't care. But I'd like to think you're here for the right reasons. I'd like to believe you see us as more than a means to an end.

So where do we go from here? Well, you walked in a door; you can easily walk back out. I understand it's awfully easy for me to judge. And I know some people just aren't ready to look in the mirror. So you have a choice. You can go back to doing things the same way, praying they don't catch up to you. Or you can stick around—and maybe take something away from it. It's your call. You're still here? Oh, good. Click here to see the following 28 ways managers fall short. And then figure out which one you're guilty of.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.