There are as many different types of bosses as there are businesses to lead and employees to supervise. But the very qualities that led to your entrepreneurial success – unwavering ambition and a relentless quest for perfection – may not be what’s needed to lead the people who work for you. Studies show that most employees leave their jobs not because of the company, but because of the people they work for. And without them, what do you have?
As much as possible, try to see things through your team members’ eyes. How do they feel when they come to work in the morning and have to deal with you?
Here are examples of bosses who get things completely wrong:
Hank built his business from the ground up and knows it inside and out. He assumes that the people he’s hired are incapable of understanding the complexities of their jobs, which is why he spends a considerable amount of time explaining (and re-explaining) their responsibilities to them.
The Drama Queen
Sheila sees her life as something meant for the big screen. Every day brings a new obstacle to her happiness or a threat to her well-being. A little problem can instantly turn into a huge crisis, and she’s not shy about dragging her team into the unfolding drama. She’s blissfully unaware that others find this approach to life exhausting and unpleasant to be around.
Master of the Mood Swing
In some respects similar to Sheila, Dave is a mystery to his team. One day he’s happy, the next day he’s crestfallen. Sometimes his moods swing violently within the same day or even the same hour. No one knows what to expect when they walk in his office – so, as much as possible, they stay away.
The Rules First Guy
Jim believes in policies and procedures. If someone saw the need to establish a certain rule, he’ll defend it against all comers, even if this means putting the interests of people (and customers) second. In his view, flexibility only weakens the company’s moral fiber.
Annette keeps things close to her chest. Too much information, she believes, will only confuse and distract the people in her department. She’s most comfortable issuing vague and sweeping orders. Those who work hardest to figure out what she means are the ones who should survive.
The Scary Guy
Joe likes being the boss. Command-and-control is his approach to life in general, which means his go-to technique is intimidation. He’s comfortable not having to deal with every little problem his team encounters. He’s OK not entertaining any of their “great” ideas. He doesn’t mind that everyone stops talking the minute he enters the room.
She Just Wants to Have Fun
Molly is a people person. She’s never happier than when she gets to hang out with a group of people, particularly subordinates who have no choice but to laugh at her jokes and gossip about those losers in accounting. A harmless practical joke every now and then is a great morale booster, in her view, as are “compulsory” get-togethers after work.
Decisions don’t come easily to Sam. He’d prefer that problems work themselves out before landing on his desk. Making a decision means upsetting one person or another or worse, risking his neck with the people he reports to. It’s not worth the hassle.
The world keeps changing around her, but Elaine stands fast. She’s always done things a certain way and look how far it’s gotten her! Best to resist the latest management fad or corporate initiative. If you wait long enough, she thinks, everything will return to the way it was.
Do you recognize of these traits in yourself? Remember, it’s never too late to change.
A great boss is someone who’s aware of how they come across, and who’s committed to fostering a fair and pleasant work environment. Invariably, they get the best results from the team and experience the least amount of employee turnover.
For more information:
Psychology Today – “11 Signs You’re a Bad Boss”