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Seven Useful Lessons You Can Learn from a Bad Boss

Seven Useful Lessons You Can Learn from a Bad Boss

Why you can trust poor leaders to be sound teachers

    Macho, insensitive bosses share certain characteristics. Their behavior is arrogant, quick-tempered and controlling. Their motives are typically selfish and manipulative. They show little concern for others and few signs of understanding why others don’t trust them. Most of all, they are quite unaware of their failings and the impact they have on their subordinates. No only do they see no need to change, they often make their high-handed behavior a source of pride.

    That’s why you can trust them to be some of your best teachers about productivity and success.

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    Before you decide that I’ve lost my mind, I’ll explain.

    Most human beings are amazingly consistent in the way they behave. That’s why we can say of some action, “That isn’t like you,” or “It’s so out of character.” Without that consistency, such a remark would be pointless. And amongst the most consistent groups of all are those who spend least time in any kind of introspection: the extreme extroverts, the loud, slap-you-on-the-back hearty types, the arrogant, the pompous, the selfish and the self-centered — the people who, if they become bosses, are most likely to prove to be bad ones.

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    Powerful lessons from powerful (and hopelessly unaware) people

    Bad bosses can become useful teachers precisely because their behavior tends to be so consistently bad. You can be fairly sure of their motives and intentions, which allows you to compare cause (what they did and probably why they did it) with effect (how it turned out).

    The pompous boss, convinced of her superiority and the rightness of whatever she does; the lazy boss, sure that status confers the right to live off other people’s efforts; the rigid, controlling boss, firm in his belief that all subordinates are incompetent without his oversight; all of these (and many more) hold to their actions so tenaciously — and are so blind to what they are doing — that they will provide some of the best lessons in what not to do that you will ever be offered.

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    Here are seven of the lessons you might come across, beginning with productivity:

    • See how much effort bad bosses have to use to make things happen their way; effort that would be unnecessary if they behaved better — all that time spent micro-managing and checking; all the ranting and raving to reduce others to obedience; all the lies and stratagems needed to manipulate others instead of asking them openly.
    • See how others react to them; how people become adept at sabotaging their efforts and undermining their success. Even when they dare not oppose the boss openly, subordinates will show great ingenuity in finding other ways to frustrate them.
    • Look at the effect bad bosses have on trust — how this type of behavior ruins relationships with customers as well as employees. Once discovered, as it always is in the end, cynical manipulation renders future trust impossible too.
    • What about the impact on motivation? Consider how you feel if you find yourself going along with the boss’s bad behavior. Do you feel motivated or depressed? Does it make you want to exert yourself or limit your output to no more than is needed to preserve your safety and career prospects?
    • Rigidity next. Most macho bosses see changing a poor decision as an unacceptable sign of weakness. How many times have you seen a bad leader produce disaster from what could have been a triumph, simply because he or she refused to admit to — and change — a bad decision?
    • Take some time to consider what survival in the lifestyle of a bad boss demands. Is that how you would be willing to live? Are the rewards they get worth what they have to do to get them?
    • Most important, observe the way bad bosses are regarded by those above them. Are they genuinely fooling the top dogs about their weaknesses? Or are those executives simply playing the same game — but far better — manipulating middle and junior managers to enhance their own positions, then throwing them to the wolves when they become too much of an embarrassment?

    I’m sure you can think of many more situations where a bad boss has taught you a valuable lesson. Observing and learning from others’ mistakes is as important as learning from your own — and a good deal less painful.

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    Besides, the macho tough guys can never admit to being wrong. They can’t learn from their own mistakes. Since you can, it’s an advantage you can use for all it’s worth.

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    Last Updated on November 12, 2020

    Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

    Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

    A lack of productivity leads to a lack of happiness. When you can’t see yourself making progress or getting things done, you get anxious and become stressful. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to be productive.

    There are also many things that contribute to unhappiness here: Facebook notifications, emails, texts, and chatty co-workers are just a small fraction of the disruptions we’re bombarded with. These “little things” can stack up fast and lead to hampering your happiness and productivity levels.

    Learn how to be productive with the 11 tips below and reclaim your everyday productivity and your happiness, once and for all.

    1. Be Happy Now

    Life is too short. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, be happy now. Start by finding something to be grateful for; everyone has at least one good thing in their life, and most have many more.

    Most of the world still has trouble getting access to clean drinking water…that means you can even be grateful for that bottle of Aquafina you’ve got on your desk right now.

    2. Finish Your Day Before It Starts

    Proper planning is the secret to peak productivity, and it’s also a good idea to set important goals daily. Get yourself a planning tool and prioritize your daily tasks with it in order to spend your time on important tasks.

    If you know exactly what you have to do and the timeframe you want to complete it in, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to be productive.

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    Here’s a smart technique on planning and prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    3. Celebrate the Small Wins

    Every time you check off a task from your to-do list, you release a “happy chemical” in your brain called dopamine. This gives you the motivation to move forward and do even more.

    For example, after I finish writing this article, and I’ve crossed it off my list of things to do today, I’ll get a nice burst of “happy chemicals” releasing in my brain. The best part? Zero side effects!

    4. Leverage Like There’s No Tomorrow

    Look for ways to use the 80/20 rule by identifying tasks that you might be able to outsource or leverage out to a virtual assistant.

    Stop wasting time doing things that don’t challenge you or ignite your passion. Hire out or automate anything and everything within your means.

    Don’t be afraid to trust others with tasks you believe they can do. They’ll likely be happy for the opportunity, and you’ll feel better about lowering the amount of work you have to get done.

    5. Recharge Your Batteries

    Figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs and make sure you get it. Take time to stretch, walk, or relax in order to recharge throughout the day and after work.

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    One study found that the best way to ensure consistent productivity throughout the day is to work for about 50 minutes, followed by a 15-20 minute break[1]. As you’re trying to learn how to be productive, follow this pattern to get started[2].

    Take breaks to be more productive

      Here are some simple ways to relax completely and get rid of stress.

      6. Become an Early Riser

      This is one of the most underused productivity “hacks” on the planet. Ever since I decided to start waking up at 5am every day, my productivity levels and happiness have gone up dramatically.

      Most people aren’t up that early, so no one can bother you or disrupt you from what you want to do. A productive person will use this time to exercise, meditate, or get a head start on their day.

      7. Do Work You’re Passionate About

      Make it your goal to blur the line between work and play by doing more things you’re passionate about. This promotes happiness both inside and outside of the workplace.

      Find what you’re passionate about and do it, even if it’s just through a hobby. Make time for the things you love and learn how to be productive more easily.

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      8. Use Time Blocks

      When I wrote this article, I gave myself a one hour time block. This prevents unnecessary dilly-dallying, like updating your social media and checking email. Instead, start developing better work habits and manage your time for a more productive day.

      There are plenty of apps that can help you do this, or you can simply set an alarm on your phone so you know when you can take a break and enjoy some free time. During your set time block[3], do your best to eliminate distractions. Find a quiet space, declutter your desk, and create a short to-do list to keep you on track.

      Time Blocking for Productivity

        9. Avoid Interruptions

        Interruptions are among the biggest barriers to both productivity and happiness. Every time you’re interrupted in the middle of a task, your level of productivity takes a hit.

        We’ve all been there: you’re fully immersed in an important project until all of a sudden the workplace chatterbox appears out of nowhere and starts talking the crazy night they had last weekend. By the time s/he’s gone, you’ve already forgotten where you were, and it takes 30 minutes to get back on track.

        Avoid this by letting people know that you’ve got important work that’s got to be done.

        Learn more about how to stay focus in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

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        10. Shut Down the Digital Disruptions

        iPhones, mailbox notifications, Twitter, Facebook, and everything that pops, slides, or fades in and out of your screen has got to go. Shut them down and focus when you want to learn how to be productive.

        It’s as easy as turning off the notifications or scheduling only a specific time to check all these notifications and texts.

        11. Measure Your Success

        Every now and then, it’s a good idea to measure your results and see how things are coming along.

        How’s your progress? Are you moving in the right direction? It’s always a good idea to track your progress regularly.

        Of course, in order to track you progress, you need to set specific milestones so you know that you’re on your way to achieving any big or small goal.

        The Bottom Line

        With these 11 effective tips, you’ll learn how to be productive and find more time to do the things that make you happy.

        Start small and take up each suggestion one-by-one. That way, you can boost your productivity, and create joy along the way.

        More to Boost Productivity

        Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

        Reference

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