12 Most Loathsome Boss Behaviors
Job satisfaction is closely tied to an employee’s relationship with the boss. Since everyone knows this, isn’t it amazing how many firms have supervisors who drive morale into the ground? If you’ve ever had one, you know just how bad a bad boss can be.
Here are my 12 most loathsome boss behaviors. How closely do they match up with your boss?
What can possibly make a job harder than someone looking over your shoulder, armchair quarterbacking, second-guessing your every move? Micromanagement destroys initiative, suffocates the brain and starves the heart. From the company point of view, micromanagement stifles innovation and ensures mediocre results.
2. Perpetually distracted
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the boss who never has time to help, and who’s preoccupied by a never-ending stream of phone calls and text messages when a precious one-on-one meeting finally occurs. An employee stuck in such a relationship never knows whether she is succeeding or failing; whether any given day will be her last day. Nobody can work to high standards in that frame of mind.
3. Credit grabbing
Great bosses are quick to share credit and forthright in accepting blame. A bad boss, on the other hand, seeks to advance her career at the expense of those who make her look good. Since credit grabbers never inspire loyalty, they can only manage through fear and intimidation. It’s the perfect recipe for a team full of pitifully poor performers preoccupied with politics.
A quarterback doesn’t have the luxury of taking weeks to mull over a decision about whom to throw a pass to. Unfortunately, many companies allow supervisors to put off decisions for weeks, months, or forever. This is extremely frustrating to employees with ambition, innovative thinking and high energy.
5. People pleasing
For some bosses, the highest priority is becoming the employee’s best buddy or the owner’s most obedient lapdog. Whether an employee or an owner, I wouldn’t want a friend; I would want a person who gets results, pushes me to improve and tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear.
6. Corner cutting
To be truly successful, people and companies must maintain high integrity at all times and at all costs. Bosses who cut corners cut the legs out from under their team and the companies they work for. A boss who cheats customers or lies to suppliers does more than provoke moral outrage — she endangers your career and your future by sucking you into explosive situations.
7. Hair splitting and devil’s advocacy
There are some people who prefer debate to decision, who would rather analyze an issue from an infinite number of angles than pick an option and run with it. I don’t know whether this type of boss belongs in a think tank or a dunk tank, but either way, if a company has enough hairsplitters, it will be the smartest failure in its industry.
8. Do as I say, not as I do
When your boss demands 12-hour days but spends most of her workweek on the golf course, how do you not get demoralized? From the company’s point of view, the worst damage of a hypocritical boss is the ripple effect — it won’t take long before the whole team’s primary goal is to play golf.
9. Public humiliation
Deeply disturbed bosses relish those times when they can chew someone out in front of a crowd. This technique sometimes works in sports with some types of athletes, but it’s almost never appropriate in a business setting. It weakens morale, undermines the corporate culture and leads to high turnover.
10. Valet duty
Keeping business and personal life separated is a sound business practice, which is why your boss shouldn’t ask you to pick up her dry cleaning or de-skunk her cat. And while blending personal and business duties is tempting for very small firms, they too should avoid it… unless they want to stay very small.
11. Can’t admit mistakes
Bosses who can’t own up to their mistakes infuriate employees, cause bad plans to be implemented or perpetuated, and set a horrible example. An effective boss doesn’t strive for an aura of perfection; instead, she strives to continually improve everything she and her employees do, starting with the very healthy assumption that everything being done now can be done better.
12. Too much delegation
While micromanagement is bad, over-delegation can be even worse. It’s a bad boss indeed who asks an employee to handle an unpleasant task because she’s afraid to do it herself, and it’s not much better when a boss leaves everything to the staff out of laziness or lack of interest. Whatever the reason, over-delegation can make a great employee feel like a failure. What could be sadder than that?
Being subjected to any one of these 12 boss behaviors would make me think seriously about finding a new job. How about you? Are any of these 12 behaviors things you can (or do) live with? What boss behaviors infuriate you and bring down your business?
Featured image courtesy of left-hand licensed via Creative Commons.