My previous posting asked, “Are you a bad boss?” I then offered a number of bad boss behaviors (poor emotional control, indecisiveness, micromanaging, etc.) for your consideration. Well, I apparently missed a few. I have gotten some notes (from people, I assume, who are bad bosses themselves, who are recovering bad bosses, or who at some point worked for a bad boss) asking how I could overlook a particular bad behavior when it is so egregious, so obvious, and such an affront to hard-working employees everywhere. So OK, we need an addendum to “Are you a bad boss?” in order to include those most heinous bad boss behaviors that I somehow missed. So if you were not guilty of any bad boss behaviors I described previously, you’re not out of the woods yet. Please read on to find out if any bad boss behaviors in this fresh batch resonate with you.
Are you a bad boss? (Part 2)
Let’s face it, we all slip up once in awhile and behave in a way that is counterproductive. But those occasional lapses won’t earn you the “Bad Boss” label. It’s when bad boss behaviors are the rule rather than the exception, that’s when you earn your Bad Boss stripes. So take a look at the behaviors below and ask yourself honestly if any of those is a match for the way you do things.
Workaholic. If you choose not to have a life outside of work, that’s your choice and that’s fine. But if you demand the same of your employees, you can expect someone to put a “Bad Boss” bumper sticker on your car. And you’ll deserve it. When people are over-worked, energy, productivity, and creativity drop to very low levels.
Fails to prioritize. Are you into instant gratification? When you want something done, do you want it done right now? Is everything a “top priority?” If that’s the case, you’re definitely a Bad Boss. When everything is a top priority, nothing is. And there will be chaos as your employees scramble to figure out which top priority really is the most important.
Fails to communicate. Are you secretive? Do you keep most company information to yourself? Do you treat your employees like mushrooms, keeping them in the dark? Most companies don’t share everything with everyone, but you at least need to give people the basics. Is the company doing well? Where are we going and how do we expect to get there? What are our goals and are we on track to achieve them? When people are denied that basic kind of information, what’s the clear message? The boss doesn’t trust us.
Doesn’t recognize and reward good work. Have you ever said (or even thought), “Why should I have to congratulate people for doing their jobs? That’s what I’m paying ‘em for!” If so, you really need to go stand in a quiet corner for awhile until you can get your head on straight. You are a Bad Boss.
Fails to provide a learning environment. People want to learn and grow in their jobs. They want to hone their skills and learn new ones. They want to get thrown into the deep end of the pool once in awhile . . . to be challenged to climb a really big mountain. If you give them only a steady diet of the same old mundane tasks, you are a Bad Boss and they will leave you.
Scores zero on the empathy scale. Good bosses learn to “read” people. They pay attention to body language, tone of voice, and other signs to know if someone is happy or sad, tired or energized, frustrated or content. If you’re unable to do that, or unwilling to make the effort . . . if you’re blissfully ignorant about how the people around you are feeling . . . you’re a Bad Boss. You come off as being cold and uncaring, able to relate to people only as employees, not as human beings.
If you are guilty of any of the aforementioned bad boss sins, do something about it! Make it a personal mission to improve your leadership skills by eliminating, or at least mitigating, your bad boss behaviors. But maybe you don’t want to change. Maybe you’re one of those individuals who says, “Hey! That’s just the way I am. If people don’t like it, they should find a job someplace else.” If that’s the case, you really are a bad boss, and your best performers really will find a job someplace else.