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8 Bad Habits That You Don’t Know Are Making You A Terrible Boss

8 Bad Habits That You Don’t Know Are Making You A Terrible Boss

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else at work hates you? Everyone hates their boss, right? Not so. If you perform your job correctly, your team members should feel comfortable around you–not feel like throwing you off the top of the office building. What are you doing wrong? Consider these bad habits that are making you a terrible boss.

1. You Don’t Communicate Well (But Expect Your Employees To)

You know darn well that you can’t read an employee’s mind. So why do you expect your team members to read yours? It’s frustrating for everyone when there’s little communication occurring. When you chew out employees for not communicating well but you’re just as guilty of it yourself, the work environment quickly becomes negative and stressful.

To start communicating better, consider these tips:

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  1. Set aside time for communicating. Spend at least 15 minutes per day engaging in informal conversation with employees to create a comfortable atmosphere. Consider having a weekly one-on-one meeting with individuals or groups to discuss concerns within the team.
  2. Make sure people understand your message. Before you begin speaking with your team members, evaluate your own abilities and prepare yourself to deliver the full message. Leave the floor open for questions in case you’ve been unclear.
  3. Recognize good work. If the only messages you send are negative, employees will start rolling their eyes and ignoring you. Create an environment where you’re heard by sharing positive messages, such as praising employees personally.
  4. Listen to your employees. Communicating well isn’t all about sharing your message. Make sure you listen to what other team members have to say, taking input seriously and taking action if necessary.

2. You Promote People Before They’re Ready

While offering promotions and incentives is a great way to create a positive environment, it can hurt your team if you promote people before they’re ready. This can lead to stressed out employees who can’t perform their job adequately, leaving everyone with a poor attitude.

Before giving out promotions, test your employees’ skills. You might arrange for an employee to cover for you so you can see how capable he or she is of taking on a larger role. Let them in on a few management decisions to see how they handle it. If an employee can’t handle these small tasks, they’re certainly not ready to take on a full-time promotion.

3. You Take Too Much Pride in Your Role

Being in a powerful position is often a great feeling, but letting it go to your head can quickly turn people against you. If you strut around the office like you’re king and expect your employees to bow at your feet and kiss your ring as you walk by, people are probably going to spit in your coffee. Just because you hold a higher position than others doesn’t mean you’re better than them.

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Let your employees know that their role is just as important as yours by praising their contributions, distributing the company’s wealth fairly, and creating an environment of equality with things like sharing a break room.

4. You Don’t Share Your Vision Enough

You may have the perfect road map drawn out in your mind about how the final project is supposed to look. But again, employees can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell them what you expect, how do they know what to deliver? Instead of simply saying, “Get to work,” make sure your employees know exactly how to get from point A to point B by sharing how you envision the final product. Apply this practice to anything from projects for clients to long-term team-building exercises.

5. You Think You Know Everything

Acting like a know-it-all is only going to annoy your employees. If you think you know everything about everything, they’re going to be afraid to share their ideas for fear that you’ll turn them away. Instead, allow your employees to voice their opinions, and make sure to approach the situation with an open mind. You never know what you might learn from others simply by accepting that they have knowledge that you don’t.

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6. You Don’t Give Your Employees Freedom

Some bosses set such strict rules that employees feel like they’re in the military. Stop acting so much like a drill sergeant, and start treating your employees like the adults they are. Studies show that employees who are given more freedom are happier, healthier, and more productive than those with a strict set of rules. Consider these ideas to allow more freedom without sacrificing employee productivity:

  1. Relinquish the 9–5 and let employees choose their own schedule.
  2. Set a certain amount of time for lunch, but let employees take it when they like.
  3. Implement a BYOD program to give employees flexibility with their mobile devices.
  4. Allow employees to listen to music while at work. It will boost their job satisfaction and productivity. [Source]
  5. Create a work-at-home option whereby employees can work remotely one day or more per week.
  6. Don’t harp on employees when they’re on their phone. Short Internet or texting breaks can actually make them more productive! [Source]

7. You Promote Competition

A little competition can be a good thing and motivate employees, but when you’re constantly pitting groups against each other, the competition can get fierce. This effectively creates a drama-filled, negative environment. Instead of promoting competition against other employees, motivate your team by praising work based on the individual, not how he or she compares to everyone else.

8. You Take All the Credit

Have you ever been praised for a project by a client or someone higher up only to say something like, “Thank you, Sir. I worked really hard on it.” Notice how there’s no mention of your team members? If you’re taking credit for all your delegated tasks, people won’t want to stick around on your team. Give credit where credit is due by speaking about your team or specific team members depending on who actually did the work.

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Being a great boss is a tough job. If you avoid these bad habits, becoming a boss people actually like will be much easier.

Liked this article? Let your friends in on this list of bad habits by tweeting it!

Featured photo credit: rogerimp via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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