7 Traits That Make You a Bad Boss
You’re not the boss of us! So we have no problem telling you the not-so-obvious things that make you a lousy person to work for.
By Kim Thomson
We hope you already know the obvious red flags about bad bossdom — you don’t listen to your employees’ concerns, you ignore input you ask them for, and you forbid anyone from looking you directly in the eye.
Thing is, without your team working hard for and with you, you’ll eventually have to answer to your boss about why you’re not pulling your weight. Some things that can make you a bad supervisor aren’t deal-breakers to the point where people are going to quit on the spot — at least, not with today’s lackluster job market. But those bad habits can poison morale, impede progress, and sometimes, even leave you holding the bag.
#1. YOU HAVE A BIPOLAR WORK PERSONALITY
Being hot and cold keeps your team guessing how to approach you with ideas or concerns. You don’t have be everyone’s BFF, but be civil. Your team feeds off of your energy, so when you’re all smiles and an hour later you’re a dickhead, they’ll be anxious and timid, both of which can hurt production.
#2. NOBODY IS BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOU
Business is business, and if you’ve surrounded yourself with tools who tell you “yes” and no one has the balls to tell you an idea stinks, you’re in trouble. “A manager who pals around with people who only tell him what he wants to hear is a morale-crusher,” says Tony Deblauwe, author of Tangling with Tyrants and consulting expert HR4Change in San Francisco. Push your team to (respectfully) be honest with you about the ways things operate so you’re able to make the right calls when it’s game time.
#3. YOU HAVE NO RATS
Law enforcement uses confidential informants (CIs) to relay the word on the street because criminals don’t usually tell cops the entire story. Your employees aren’t criminals (you hope), but the tactic can still work. At the end of the day, you’re the boss — even if you try your hardest to be a friend. That means you’re never going to get the whole story. A trusted CI can help. Just use the info wisely. No need to inquire about what people think of your new tie; but getting the lowdown on issues that may otherwise go unnoticed can be priceless.
#4. YOU NEVER REWARD YOUR TEAM
If the ship is sinking and the crew knows it, giving coupons to the Jelly of the Month Club instead of raises is defensible. It’s when the numbers are in the black and your workers are busting their asses that they’re going to feel unappreciated if you don’t toss them a bone. If the budget can’t support across-the-board raises, subtle things like springing for coffee, bagels, lunch, or a happy hour every so often can give the rank and file an ataboy while buying time to figure out the raise situation or plan what to do if people start jumping overboard.