I don’t watch “reality” shows, except for an occasional few minutes of “American Idol”, but I remember scanning the tube with the remote (Yes, I am a male) and seeing a few minutes of this show called, “Hell’s Kitchen”. I wasn’t too impressed, not only because I’m not a reality show fan, but mostly because I’ve worked in a few kitchens in my day, and I was a state restaurant inspector in New Orleans for several years after graduating from college.

What got me thinking, as I was switching channels, was realizing that there are hundreds of businesses out there that resemble “Hell’s Kitchen” and believe me, I’ve worked at a few of those firms where the owners and managers were as badly behaved. And while some of you are reading this you’ll know who you are without looking in the mirror!

So you ask, “What’s the big deal? It’s just business.” Here’s the big deal: very few businesses survive being a “Hell’s Kitchen”, or functioning like one of those fishing boats you see on “Deadliest Catch”. Those are really unique industries and from my experience, the more dangerous the work, the more intense the relationships become.

If you aren’t an owner or manager in a business such as these, and you treat your employees (or worse, your customers) like the leaders in those shows, your company will never reach its full potential to earn profits. Every week I speak with someone who has been working at a job they hate – nearly a hundred folks each year. Most of them are looking for work for one reason; their boss; and it’s because their boss is a jerk or bully, or both! What’s worse is the boss believes he or she has the advantage of a down economy as a trump card and chooses to use it like a weapon.

I remember talking with my dad, who was a retired IBM executive, about his work before “Big Blue” hired him in 1953. As a high school and college student growing up in