Are You Guilty of Being a Bad Boss? 5 Ways to Tell

If you are managing people, you know how tough it can be.  You’re balancing the business goals and the demands of your job, along with the people you’re responsible for.  You know the jokes about bad bosses and quite frankly, you haven’t given any thought about whether or not that might be you.

Countless people in your position really just don’t care if they are good or bad so long as they play well with the big bosses to give them what they want.  Let’s see if a quick wake-up call might compel you into caring about what kind of boss you are.

Impact of being a bad boss:

Lack of productivity. The biggest issue you face is keeping your employees productive.  You probably never really gave it any thought.  You may have thought productivity is a by-product of how much or how long you beat your employees to get the most out of them.  Think again.  People will not only be seriously productive, but they will go the extra mile to perform when they are in a well-managed environment.

Turnover.  Many managers simply think turnover comes with the game.  People come and people go.  The issue is that you will also take a productivity hit every time you lose a trained employee.  The best you can do to find a replacement will be 6 weeks; and then it will take another 2-3 months for that person to be working at a good level.  You’ve now taken a 4-5 month hit in your output.  Time to rethink what you think about turn over.

You.  If you’re a bad boss you probably know it at some level.  Your workers are most likely miserable and there is no way you can be impervious to that condition.  You may be defensive when someone asks you a question; or maybe you don’t trust your employees so you over manage them making your workload increase.  The list of impact to you at both a personal and professional level is a long one.

This means it doesn’t pay to be a bad boss.  Here are 5 ways to tell if you are one and if so, what you should do about it:

  1. Do you truly understand what managing really means?  Most bad bosses aren’t bad because they choose to be, they simply don’t understand how to be in charge of others.  Consider taking some basic managing classes and seek out a mentor who is a good model of managing.  You can learn a lot from others.
  2. Can you detect descent, eye rolling or other signs that your employees don’t think well of you?   Granted, you aren’t there to win a popularity contest, but you should look for signs that there is a big chasm between you and them.  Your aim is to gain mutual respect.  If they don’t respect you, they will leave at the first opportunity and won’t perform to their maximum potential while they are working for you.  Don’t try to make friends.  Work on communication.  Ask them for their input and ideas.  Listening to others is a great way to demonstrate, and gain, respect.
  3. Are you paranoid about your employee’s agenda?  Some bad bosses think that the employees are out to undermine them and make them look bad.  If this is you, you have a huge problem.  You may need to call in a consultant to overhaul both you and your group dynamics.
  4. Do you encourage open communication and even disagreement?  A sign of a bad boss is that they don’t want employees to openly discuss or question their direction.  The issue here is that you risk poor performance if your direction has been misinterpreted.  People will execute better if they have a chance to fully understand by discussion and perspective.  Encouraging disagreement ensures that if there is a potential landmine you will know it in advance; which means you can plan for those contingencies.
  5. Do you think you don’t need to improve?  If you’ve gotten to a point where you have done this long enough, you may think this is a good as it gets.  Not true.  We can always stand to improve and learn how to do our job better.  There are experts out there who continually study business management and find ways to keep upping the game.  Up your game, everyone will benefit.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t like their jobs is because of the dynamics with the boss.  Make it your goal to not be in those statistics.  You can be the thing that will make a difference between a good day at work or a bad one.  You will benefit in the long run if are good at managing people.

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a certified life and career coach. She works with aspiring professionals who are looking for career growth, advancement and entry into the “C” suite. As well, she works with people to overcome the sometimes daunting task of changing careers. With over 21 years in management, Dorothy has coached, trained and guided other professionals who have gone on to impressive and fulfilling careers. Her personal philosophy about careers is: “It’s not JUST a job; it’s half your life – so love your career”. You can check out her resources, blog and services at Next Chapter New Life and MBA Highway.

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