The bad boss. We’ve all had at least one. Hopefully, not more than one and, still more hopefully, we haven’t been one ourselves.
Chances are, if you’ve had a bad boss somewhere along the line in your career, you’ve moved on to another job. Today, that may not be so easy to do. Nevertheless, studies show repeatedly that one of the main reasons for job dissatisfaction and, ultimately, job switching, is working for a bad boss.
This is a sobering statistic that all companies, large or small, need to take to heart. Often, serious employee morale issues are not the result of souring economic conditions and corresponding cost cutting and downsizing. Rather, they are directly the consequence of insensitive company leadership.
Bad bosses pass their weaknesses on to others. They are poor leaders, who let their ego and desire for power get in the way of doing what’s best for their employees and their company. They have a tremendous need to control, and often dwell on mistakes rather than discuss methods of prevention.
Bad bosses tend to create employees who are best described as “Coasters.” These are people who are so intimidated or frustrated with their boss’s behavior that they drop their performance to a bare minimum. Their work is adequate, but lacks initiative and involvement.
Bad bosses can break people down from being the high-performing “Achievers” they once were. High achievers when first hired, these employees burn out quickly when they are held back or their ideas are not welcomed. The poor leadership skills of their bosses chip away at their positive attitudes and erode high performance levels.
Bad bosses often pay lip service to their staff, reprimand them in front of others, or micromanage their projects. Frequently, these bosses show favoritism, take credit for their employees’ ideas or permit lesser performers to get away with their lack of effort. This kind of ongoing negative behavior will pull down the best employee, because they feel that no matter what they say or do, they will never make an impact. It’s easier for them to stop saying anything and to stop working hard.
On the other hand, good leaders have an open-door policy; they are never too busy to listen to their staff—even if it means they must temporarily shift their priorities.
Good leaders hire the best people and let them run with the ball. They don’t micromanage. They know that giving people the responsibility and authority to accomplish their work is one of the strongest ways they can show their appreciation and respect.
Good leaders not only know what characteristics to look for when hiring people, but they know where to find future Achievers. They just look around and discover them within their own organizations. Good leaders have the ability and attitude to turn Coasters into Achievers. They encourage them, believe in them, develop their skills and provide unlimited coaching.
Think back to your early years. Weren’t there certain people— teachers, relatives, bosses—for whom you would walk through fire because they brought out the best in you? Didn’t you have someone who believed in you, before you believed in yourself? As simple as it sounds, great leaders are simply competent professionals, role models or friends who inspire you. They have a certain charisma that makes them attractive to others and earns a high degree of respect. To be a good leader, you need to develop your personal skills. You need to trustworthy and supportive for your staff to give you their best efforts.
If you want to gain a competitive edge, you must learn to recognize and emphasize strong leadership skills within your organization. Look for the best leaders—and be one yourself. Train all of your managers to create the best environment and attitude that will generate the highest performance.
(Need a training program on “Creating High Performance-Beyond Excellence”)…
If anyone on your management team cannot measure up to your new policy of “Zero Tolerance for Bad Bosses,” there are many out there who would love to have their position. After all, the best environment for all must be maintained by everyone involved. You cannot do it alone. You set the tone for the organization; everyone along the way has to sustain it.
Good leaders know that in a positive atmosphere of consideration and support, they can build their subordinates’ self-esteem. By bringing out the best in them, good leaders can unlock their employees’ full talents and put those talents to work.
The mission of a good leader is to help every worker attain his or her full potential—as an employee and as a human being—so he or she can perform in an increasingly competitive and challenging environment. And today companies need all the help from motivated employees they can muster. It can get pretty ugly out there. Make your work environment the best it can be.