Are You a Bad Boss?

Most of us don’t think we are a bad boss. The really bad bosses aren’t reading this because they don’t care.

Here are 4 clues  of a bad boss.  What would be especially useful would be your ideas on how to help someone be a better boss. (hint: This isn’t always just what the boss needs to do.) I’ll get it started…

1. I do not acknowledge, or refer to staff members by name. Did you forget it? Is it hard to pronounce? Have you made up a nickname that is easier for you to use?  Our names are very personal and we like hearing them, especially when used kindly by those whom we hold in esteem or have authority.  Keep the parental tone way down – you know the one your parent used when you were in trouble.  Shortening or creating a nickname for someone may be like rubbing salt in a wound. Ask them for proper pronunciation and privately check in to ensure you are getting it right.  The best way to remember names is to know something about the person, not just their appearance or voice.

2. Most staff problems are annoying and I have much more important things to do, so I ignore them. Some things need to be talked through for staff to find their own answers. This takes effective listening skills and patience.  Some things need your position power (aka influence) to happen.  Minimize whining by asking what specifically action they want you to do and why. Have facts, not generalizations or assumptions, when you are looking for reasons to make a change.

3. My staff take things way too seriously; they can’t take a joke. As a boss, everything you say has the potential to have more power and influence with your staff than you may realize.  The only person to poke fun at is yourself.

4. My staff are professionals; they should know what to do. Why should I have to explain their jobs to them? We all operate from a set of assumptions and the problem is when they don’t match. Use the 5 W’s when discussing an assignment (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and any boundaries (budget, relationships, etc.) to help make a better match at these assumptions, there by reducing late and wrong work.

What are your clues?

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One Response to “Are You a Bad Boss?”

  1. Just A. NotherFed says:

    I would add that a manager has to follow through on their commitments. Most managers are very careful to fulfill their commitments upstream – to their superiors. Very few take their “downstream” commitments as seriously. Most employees will let their manager get away with one broken commitment. Very few will let them have a second chance.

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