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How Can I Tell if I Am a Bad Boss?

Submitted by  on June 13th, 2012

Businessman with boxing glovesIn a previous post, I outlined some effective strategies for dealing with a bad boss. But what about if you are the undesirable boss? And what if you are oblivious to the fact that your behavior gets under other people’s skins? Would you want to know? I would hope so. If you wanted to keep yourself in the dark, you would be an even worse manager!

Just because your manager hasn’t pulled you up is no guarantee that you are doing a good job. Sadly, some obnoxious bosses are tolerated by managers further up the food chain because they get results. These bosses focus solely on tasks and outcomes and drive people into the ground with bullying, threats, emotional blackmail, and so on. The wheels eventually fall off the wagon as the tell-tale signs of abominable behavior appear.

Look out for these signs of your poor interpersonal and management skills:

  • employees taking excessive unplanned leave
  • employees start arriving late or leaving early for no reason
  • employees leaving in higher than normal numbers for another employer
  • people not turning up to meetings that you chair
  • hearing nasty rumors about you on the grapevine
  • employees having a higher number of workplace accidents and incidents
  • employees seeming defensive or aggressive

If you haven’t witnessed any of the above, congratulations. You can pat yourself on the back for being personable to the people around you. However, don’t rest on your laurels. Getting feedback is the best defense against turning into a workplace ogre. Actively find out how people really see you -through their eyes. How? If you suspect people may hold back on giving you honest feedback to your face, get a peer or your manager to conduct a confidential 360 degree survey with your direct reports.

If you are sure your people trust you, then make your next performance management review meeting genuinely two-way. As well as giving feedback to your direct reports, ask each of them how you can better help them get the results they want. And then listen!

And while you are at it, don’t just get feedback from the people who report to you. Ask your manager, customers, suppliers and peers how they view your behavior. Once again, use a confidential 360 degree survey if trust in you is not high. A well conducted 360 degree review will pay handsome dividends for your future development. Remember, the best managers focus equally on getting tasks done and nurturing productive relationships.

What other signs can you think of that shed light on how you are perceived as a manager? What did you do when you discovered that you had behaved abhorrently? Please share your stories.

2 Way Feedback e-book

Are you capable of giving effective feedback to employees? How are you at receiving feedback? Give yourself the tools and skills you need to bring out the best from your workers. Download our 2 Way Feedback e-book. This practical guide will help you and your managers, supervisors and team leaders get everyone on board and going in the same direction -with enthusiasm. Find out more about 2 Way Feedback and download today.

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