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    Bad Boss Behavior (and What You Can Do to Avoid It)

    If you're a manager or a leader of your business, you probably feel the pressure to be a good boss. However, the adjective "good" is a relative term. There are many obvious qualities of good leaders, and there's no shortage of blogs and articles that give managers tips and tools on being effective leaders. But, today I want to talk about the characteristics of bad bosses. Movies such as Office Space and Horrible Bosses, and the popular sitcom, The Office, are pillars of pop culture and do a great job of putting a comedic spin on not-so-great bosses, but your skills as a leader are no joking matter.

    When 75% of employees believe that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job, I think we can all agree that this is one majority we don't want to be a part of! No ones wants to work for a bad boss. They certainly won't give you their best effort, and they will be out the door at the first opportunity. In fact, 33% of employees with bad managers admitted to not putting in maximum effort.

    Avoid these qualities and you can avoid being dropped into the bad boss category. 

    1. You Don't Motivate

    Motivating your employees is a key factor in being an effective leader. Your employees look up to you to set the tone of their working environment and to care about their professional development. If you're only focusing on production or your bottom line, you're missing the boat.

    If you supervise employees, that automatically means you're in the people business. Motivating your employees is a form of investment, and investing in your employees will reap the kind of rewards that directly affect your bottom line--increased sales, better customer service, lower employee turnover, etc. 

    2. You Won't or Don't Admit When You Make a Mistake

    Workplace mistakes are an inevitable part of being employed. In fact, they're a regular part of being a human being, so why do so many bad bosses avoid admitting to them? Whether you're entry-level or a CEO, you're bound to make a mistake at some point. Bad bosses refuse to admit when they've made a mistake. Admitting your mistakes shows maturity--it shows your employees that you are humble enough to admit when you are wrong. And in most cases, admitting a mistake is the first step in learning from these missteps and becoming a better supervisor.  

    3. You Don't Show Your Employees That You Appreciate Them

    It's been said that "silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone," (G.B. Stern) and I couldn't agree more. Your employees need to hear that yo recognize their hard work and appreciate their efforts. A bad boss thinks that signing their employees' paycheck each week is all that they are required to do to show their appreciation. Hey, you're paying them; that's enough, right? Wrong. The desire for approval from our peers, superiors, family, and friends is human nature. It may vary by degrees, but all of us, on some level, want approval--particularly on the job. Not taking the time or effort to show and tell your employees that you appreciate them is a prime quality of a bad boss.

    4. You Refuse to Delegate

    Here's the thing: there are only 24 hours in the day. No matter who you are, where you live, what your profession, how many children you have, how much money you have, etc., etc., etc., we all ONLY get 24 hours a day. That's it. Out of those 24, the average person spends 8-12 of them at work. If you try to accomplish all of the things on your company's to-do list, you're most likely going to fail--there simply isn't enough time in the day. Furthermore, there may be some things on that list that are not your strengths.

    Being able to recognize that and appropriately delegate those tasks to your capable employees (remember how capable they are--you hired them for a reason!) makes you an effective leader. Refusing to delegate is a key quality of a bad boss. 

    5. You Don't Communicate

    Communication is the foundation of any relationship, including the employee-employer relationship. Bad bosses don't clearly communicate their expectations, goals, deadlines, or timelines. Or worse, they communicate those things, and then change their mind without informing their employees, expecting them to be mind readers. No one wins in this situation. You don't get the production that you need, and your employees will lose trust in your word. 

    Unfortunately, there a lot of bad bosses out there, but you don't have to be one. Avoid the actions we've discussed above, and you'll be well on your way to being the kind of leader your employees thrive for. I'll leave you with this:

    "I think people want to be magnificent. It is the job of the leader to bring out that magnificence in people and to create an environment where they feel safe and supported and ready to do the best job possible in accomplishing key goals."-Ken Blanchard

    Related Categories

    Recruiting & Employee Retention

    Greg Hermanson

    Greg Hermanson is responsible for the recruiting and hiring of SWBC employees—a number which has grown from 400 to more than 3,500 since he joined the company in January 2005. In addition, as Vice President of Human Resources, he is responsible for employee relations and plays a key role in the performance management process. Greg and his Staffing and Employee Relations teams have helped SWBC to maintain the culture that facilitated our organization being named one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Texas” by Texas Monthly.

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