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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
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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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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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