Are you a bad boss?
We hear so much about “bad bosses” — that they are the No. 1 reason why employees quit; that they are more common than ever because of lack of training and development; and that they struggle with managing people of different cultures or age groups.
I come across all types of bosses, and clearly, bad ones can be found in any industry. One of the worst I can recall was a woman who required her staff to work long hours each day and then expected them to work a full day on either Saturday or Sunday. On top of that, this boss's behavior was unethical and her tongue was biting. To her staff's relief, the company president finally had a light bulb moment, and he fired her.
Micromanaging bosses often qualify as bad bosses. Phyllis Hartman, president of PGHR Consulting, Inc. in Wexford, says, “Micromanager bosses may lack the self confidence necessary to delegate responsibility to employees or be so afraid that the employee will make a mistake that they never let them try new things.”
Hartman says that many bosses don't realize they are responsible for cultivating the environment that helps employees succeed. “Instead,” says Hartman, “they blame poor performance and negative behaviors on bad employees. They fail to make employees feel valuable.”
Though the employees do have responsibility for doing their jobs, they need to have the ability to do the job and they need their boss to clearly define expectations.
Do you ever wonder if the people who report to you consider you a “bad boss”? If you truly want to know, here are some barometers:
Compare turnover rates in your department with that of others. Some variations can be explained, but certainly not all. Consider both the employees who leave and those you have fired. Take into account whether your employees would leave “if they could” — perhaps the job market or their skill set limit their movement.
Be brave. Have a conversation with someone in Human Resources to learn what employees say about you in exit interviews.
When conducting performance appraisals, make it standard practice to ask for feedback on how you can be a better manager. Not a good sign: if all your employees have a great deal to say. Even worse: if they steadfastly refuse to comment.
If your company does an employee attitude survey, thoroughly analyze the feedback. If employees fear retaliation, try an online survey to assure anonymity.
Ask a trusted peer to give you feedback, especially regarding whatever the (usually shockingly accurate) grapevine is saying about you.
Speak with an objective and astute observer such as a visiting consultant for some honest feedback.
Having reflected on all the above, if you think there's a chance you might be a bad boss, Hartman's advice to you is, “Resolve to make a change. Start listening to your employees. Try to understand your own feelings so that you don't react emotionally when problems arise. Think about how you are communicating about the work and treat mistakes as learning opportunities.”
If you are determined to change, let your employees know and actively enlist their help. That's one assignment in which they will be thrilled to support you.
Chris Posti is president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh. She can be reached at 724-344-1668.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates stumble in bid for sweep, lose to Giants, 7-5
- Steelers to retire Joe Greene’s jersey number
- Killer Baumhammers wants public defender for death sentence appeal
- 30 cited for trespassing at union rally
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Penn State gets verbal commitment from Maryland defensive end
- Pirates’ Alvarez continues to sit, work on throwing woes
- Investors content with pace on stocks even in face of good news
- 2 sentenced for avoiding arrest after Steelers player was stabbed
- Venezuela officials shut out from travel to U.S.
- Duquesne men’s basketball opens season Nov. 15