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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 July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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