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Wednesday, August 28 2013

The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bad Boss

Let's face it; we have all seen and experienced bad bosses. There are the ones that bully, the ones that only care about themselves and their own career, the cowards that hide behind others or the ones that drive you mad by trying to tell you how to do your job in the minutest level of detail. Seeing bad bosses in action can be hilarious but if you are on the receiving end of a bad boss it is usually no laughing matter. Bad bosses cause so much unnecessary stress in the work place and are a major cause of reduced productivity and performance.

The thing is that we are often not fully aware why we get stressed by our bosses, they just make us feel uncomfortable or in the worst case completely stressed out. I work with so many different companies all over the world, across all industries and sectors and believe I can tell whether someone is a good boss or not within seconds of meeting them and their team. You can just tell by what they say, how they say it and how they and their team behave. Here are my top ten tell-tale signs of a bad boss:

  1. The Ego-Tripper - a boss that is arrogant, shows off at any opportunity and is in constant need of boosting his or her ego
  2. The Coward - a boss that takes on no accountability and often hides behind others
  3. The Micromanager - a boss that believes he knows how others should do their job, who can't trust people to just get on with their job and instead and micro-manages everything they do
  4. The Incapable - a boss that has been promoted beyond his or her capabilities, has no clue how to do the job and has lost all respect of subordinates and co-workers
  5. The Over-friendly Mate - a boss that inappropriately wants to be your best mate or nearest friend
  6. The Bad Communicator - a boss that is unable to communicate anything effectively, be it the corporate strategy or individual performance feedback
  7. The Plagiarizer - a boss that takes credit for other people's work or ideas and passes it off as his own (especially to his or her boss)
  8. The Negative - a boss that just can't say anything positive and instead turns everything into doom-and-gloom
  9. The Ego-Centric - a boss that doesn't care about the people who work for him and is not interested in helping, coaching and developing anyone else but himself
  10. The Criticizer- a boss that is quick to critisize mistakes others make and is unable to provide constructive feedback

For me, each of the above are clear signs of a bad manager and when you get a boss with one or maybe two of the signs then you can usually manage around them (not ideal but doable). Really problematic is when you end up with a boss that shows several of them at the same time, in which case I can only wish you good luck!

Do you agree with the list? Are there other tell-tale signs you would add? Or have you got any stories, insights or experiences to share on the topic?


Bernard Marr is a best-selling business author and enterprise performance expert. Make sure you click 'Follow' if you would like to hear more from Bernard Marr in the future and feel free to also connect via Twitter, Facebook and The Advanced Performance Institute

Posted by: Su P AT 04:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 10 2013

You're only as good as your people. Your people will treat you as good as you treat them.

By: Drake Baer - Fast Company

Customer churn--where users engage, disengage, and quickly flee--can kill a company. And as William Tincup argues at OpenView, churning through your team will kill you just as dead.

"Employee turnover can be just as damaging," he write, "impeding your ability to attract top talent right now, and lessening the likelihood that you’ll retain your highest performers in the long-term."

The big question, then, is how to build a company where your people love--rather than loathe--their work. Fast Company's done our best to find some answers.

Hire "tasteful" people

As CEO Tom Preston-Werner explained to us, GitHub is a company that optimizes for happiness--in their employees, in their customers, and other stakeholders. What, then, does a happiness-centric executive such as he organize his work around?

Hiring. Specifically, finding the kind of people that suit GitHub's "taste," the aesthetic that animates the social coding company's libertarian hustle:

For GitHub, "taste" means the same set of values that allows for GitHub's open autonomy. He reels off a list of feeler questions: Do they care about improving as a person? Do they believe in products?  In supporting users?  In making developers' lives better? In making it easier for people to work together? Are they self-motivated? Do they value communication skills? Do they appreciate the freedom to self-direct and make the best possible decision?

If all those questions find a positive answer, he says, then the given candidate will be a positive fit for the company. And positive experiences will emerge.

Give people autonomy

We all hate to be bossed around--so much that it hampers our productivity. This is a signal as to how crucial autonomy is to people feeling positive about their working lives.

Management is great if you want compliance, Dan Pink reminds us, but if we want engagement--which we need for the complicated tasks inherent to knowledge work--then self-direction is better.

Give people resources

While one solid definition of entrepreneurship is doing awesome things with limited resources, people need resources--both in the cases of compensation and in budget--to feel valued, which leads to that all-important engagement.

Give people progress

Perhaps superseding all of these is the need for progress, as articulated by Teresa Amabile, a professor and a research director at Harvard Business School. For people to have their best inner lives--which has the downstream effects of engagement, creativity, and innovation--they need to experience small wins, those little victories that help you recognize that you're making incremental improvements.

As she's written before, this suggests that managers don't need to worry about reading the psyches of their teams, but rather arranging the work in such a way that has clear indicators of progress--progressive techniques include narrated work and other progress-marking rituals. Amabile closes the loop:

By supporting people and their daily progress in meaningful work, managers improve not only the inner work lives of their employees but also the organization’s long-term performance, which enhances inner work life even more. Of course, there is a dark side--the possibility of negative feedback loops. If managers fail to support progress and the people trying to make it, inner work life suffers and so does performance; and degraded performance further undermines inner work life.

Posted by: Su P AT 06:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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