The country comedian Jeff Foxworthy has a routine called - You Might Be A Redneck which made him famous years ago. My Foxworthy's monologue included gems such as; If you own a home with wheels and several cars without - you might be a redneck or If your wife’s hairdo has ever been ruined by a ceiling fan – you might be a redneck. Many people (including me) find his humor hilarious still today, while others don’t find his humor to be funny at all. What makes people laugh or cry or both is dependent upon the individual taste of each person, however, what actions makes a bad boss is universally agreed upon by employees. Interestingly, what makes a bad boss bad - isn’t tied to socio-economic, or even position factors as noted in the following. The list was compiled from an interview with a successful manager making a six figure income, at a large company and includes the manager’s actual experiences with their boss.
15 Actions That Make You a Bad Boss
- If you don’t know the birthdays or other significant anniversaries of your direct reports – you might be a bad boss
- If you don’t reach out and wish them a happy birthday, acknowledge a significant anniversary or milestone – you might be a bad boss
- If you equate giving encouragement to giving “everyone a participation trophy” – you might be a bad boss
- If you believe it is appropriate to correct a direct report in front of their peers – you might be a bad boss
- If you believe that results are the only thing that matter and the journey insignificant – you might be a bad boss
- If you have hung up the phone on any of your direct reports because you were frustrated with them – you might be a bad boss
- If every compliment statement you provide ends in a period (.) but your criticisms always end with an explanation mark (!) – you might be a bad boss
- If you speak about a direct report in a negative manner to their teammates – you might be a bad boss
- If you use the following statements; “just do what I tell you, because I said so, or do it or else”– you might be a bad boss
- If you believe your time is more important than your direct reports and therefore it justifies your questioning their sense of urgency and expectation that they should answer your phone calls and respond to emails immediately – you might be a bad boss
- If you have ever lied about a direct report to your boss because you were scared of getting in trouble for dropping the ball – you might be a bad boss
- If you believe it is appropriate to leave nasty emails to your direct reports and always copying your boss when doing so, but when providing positive emails to your direct reports you won’t copy your boss because you feel it might make you look too soft – you might be a bad boss
- If a direct report on your team is seasoned, talented, productive and a terrific team player but isn’t a great fit for your team and you don’t attempt to find a fit within your company in a different role or department – you might be a bad boss
- If you fear that a direct report might outshine you in a presentation or meeting – you might be a bad boss
- If one of your direct reports, announces that he/she has a long term illness or their spouse is ill, and your first thought is how they heck am I going to make my number/finish the project on time/or how can I get relief in this situation – you might be a bad boss.
How to Not Be A Bad Boss
So, how do you prevent becoming or being a bad boss? How does a company ensure that they don't support a culture that the above manager experienced? The answer is - bridging the gap between where the executive believes themselves to be versus what their superiors, peers and direct reports believe is essential to the growth of the culture, the leader and the performance of the company. This can be accomplished through customized training and coaching. Recent studies estimate that the overall performance of individuals who receive 1:1 coaching based on narrowing the gap established during 360 surveys, experience an increase in production between 10% and 19%.
Leadership Principle #5
Good Bosses, leaders and companies use 360 evaluation tools to ensure that their management team members receive anonymous feed back from the those senior to them, their peers and their direct reports. Then based upon the overall input the company develops a customized training and coaching curriculum. Bridging the gap between where the executive believes themselves to be versus what their superiors, peers and direct reports believe is essential to the growth of the culture, the leader and the performance of the company.
I look forward to hearing your ideas, thoughts and successes at firstname.lastname@example.org