Conjure up the term “bad boss” and what comes to mind? Scenes of managers, berating subordinates in public or taking credit for other people’s work or saying one thing and doing another Feel free to continue — I’m sure you have more examples.
According to the HBR Blog post Are You Sure You’re Not a Bad Boss?, “Our research suggests that the offensive actions so often associated with being a bad boss make up less than 20% of the behavior that actually defines the worst bosses.”
They found, after analyzing the behavior of 30,000 managers as seen through the eyes of some 300,000 of their peers, direct reports, and bosses – that the sins of the bad boss are far more often not the appalling things they do; rather it’s the critical things they don’t do.
Here Are the Five Fatal Sins
1. Failure to walk the talk.
Saying one thing and doing another is the fastest way to lose the trust and credibility of those you lead. The worst offenders here also pose a wider threat as dangerous role models — creating the risk that their organizations will degenerate if others behave as they do.
2. A lack of clear vision and direction.
Poor leaders have a murky view of the future. They don’t know precisely what direction to take and are usually unwilling to communicate about the future, leaving their subordinates with no clear path forward.
3. Failure to improve and learn from mistakes.
Arrogance and complacency combine in the poorest leaders as they rise, causing them to come to the dangerous conclusion that they’ve reached a stage in their careers where development is no longer required. This leads unfortunately to repeating the same mistakes over and over.
4. An inability to collaborate and be a team player.
Poor leaders avoid their peers, act independently, fail to develop positive relations with colleagues. The worst of them view work as a competition and their colleagues as opponents.
5. Acceptance of mediocre performance in place of excellent results.
The poorest leaders did not set stretch goals, inadvertently encouraging mediocre performance by letting people coast along doing less work, less well than their counterparts working for better managers.
What About You?
Do you exhibit any of these fatal sins? The post concludes with this thought: “You could be traveling down this road right now with no hint that anything’s amiss. No hint, that is, unless you take the time to consider not just what kind of a leader you are, but what kind you’re not.”
Management Success Tip:
As we can see a bad boss it’s not only a person who yells, who is in a bad mood all the time or someone who doesn’t care about the people. A bad boss could be the one who doesn’t know how to be a leader: one who guides, inspires, influences and motivates. Also see What Makes a Great Boss
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- Copyright © 2013 Marcia Zidle business and leadership coach.