Thursday, September 27, 2012

Top 10 Traits of a Bad Boss

Up and downs describes my professional experience over the course of the past couple of years.  As a result, I've had time to reflect on the type of people I am happy working for as well as those I find challenging.  I'm jotting these things down, so I can hold myself accountable and try to be the best boss I can be, most days.

I have had some pretty fabulous managers as well as some duds.  I've also managed teams for a little more than half of my career.  My list of the Top 10 Traits of a Bad Boss are based on my experiences and my own mistakes.  Here they are:

1.) Having complete disregard for people's lives outside of work.  Don't work people 80 hours a week because you are not organized.  Invest a little time up front and everyone will save time in the end.  You'll get more out of your employees if you extend them some flexibility (where possible) and show consideration for life outside of work.  Also make sure to communicate to them when you might need extra hours from them ahead of time, so they can adjust their calendars accordingly.  

2.) Starting every sentence with "What you did is wrong, I don't understand it.".  This immediately puts people on the defensive and less likely to help you figure out what you don't understand.  Perhaps instead one should try "I'm having trouble understanding this, can you help me/provide more context/add some clarification/etc..".

3.)   Yelling.  Under no terms should you yell at your employees.  I do understand the higher up the chain you go, yelling is a bit more prevalent.  I'll never get that high up the chain, so from my view in the mid priced seats, yelling is not okay.  It's disrespectful, demotivating and humiliating.

4.) Jumping to conclusions without understanding the facts.  Don't come out of the gates swinging (verbally that is) unless you understand the facts.  

5.) Throwing your people under the bus.  Take responsibility for your team.  When they fail, you fail.  When they succeed, you succeed.

6.) Taking credit for work your team has done.  Yes, you are the leader and your guidance and knowledge may have lead to an outstanding product, but if your team did a bulk of the work, let it be known.  

7.) Blaming your team for your failures.  Ultimately, what makes it up the food chain is your responsibility.  If the higher ups aren't happy, accept responsibility then take the issue up with your team in a constructive way.  

8.) Establishing rules for the team and then doing the opposite.  If you set a rule or policy with your team you need to follow it as well.  Be the example.

9.) Forgetting to say 'thank you'.  These two simple ways go a long way.  Thank your team for late nights, for an effort that was above and beyond, acknowledge a job well done.

10.) Expecting more of your team than you expect of yourself.  You are the boss.  In most cases you make more than the people on your team.  As a result, more is expected of you, deliver it.  

Top 10 Traits of a Great Boss coming soon to a blog near you.  

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