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3 Horrifying Bosses


VoicePro, Leadership, Communication Skillsby Scott Danielson



VoicePro, Leadership, CommunicationWhat’s the one thing you’d like to change about your boss? Don’t worry, this isn’t a setup.  Realistically, most employees want to change at least one of their boss’s undesirable habits.  Usually, this improvement is something small.  But if small faults are left unchecked, they can overtake a boss’s positive qualities and turn an otherwise praiseworthy leader into an ugly caricature. Here are three bosses you never want to be.

#1 The Hunter

Hunters are constantly on the prowl for mistakes. Regardless of size, any and all mistakes must be discovered and critiqued with a shotgun blast of reprimands, reviews, and condescending tips for improvement. 

Victims of the hunter are defined by their shattered confidence, strong feelings that nothing they do is right, and loss of interest in their work.

If you believe you have hunter tendencies, do the following. Compliment more than you criticize. Treat mistakes as learning experiences instead of “gotcha” moments. Finally, own up to your own mistakes. Most hunters are too busy tracking down the mistakes of other people to notice their own.

#2 The Spy

Spies are not overtly terrifying, but they trust no one and expect deceit and sabotage from those around them. They monitor every project, anticipating disaster. They demand constant progress reports and scan basic assignments for the small sign of treachery.

Spies create fearful and frustrated employees who move at a snail’s pace to avoid being suspected of doing something horribly wrong.

If you think you’re a spy, you must let go of your need to control. Like it or not, your employees hold the key to the success—or failure—of your business. The only way to get the most out of them is to trust them to do their jobs and guide them along the way. You can’t do it for them.

#3 The Police Chief

“Get into my office right now!” The call of the police chief can only mean one thing: someone is in trouble. Even though they oversee an office, or a division, or an entire company, these bosses run things like a precinct of loose cannons. Employees are constantly called in for scathing critiques that echo throughout the entire area. It’s also a common police-chief practice to threaten an individual’s job as a “motivating tool.”

Police chiefs fail to recognize three things. First, if everyone is scared to death, no one will be honest with you. A project could have major pitfalls, but if people are afraid of being fired for disagreeing, they’ll keep quiet.  Second, employees want praise. Competent leaders balance praise and criticism so the people under them are motivated to improve. Finally, public shaming kills morale. No one likes to watch a coworker receive a tongue lashing. In all likelihood, the entire office will come to a grinding halt. So to keep productivity and morale alive, ditch the angry police chief routine.

Though workplace gripes may not indicate it, most bosses are competent leaders with good intentions. Therefore, don’t let one aspect of your personality or management style turn an entire group against you. Be mindful of your faults and work to balance them with your good qualities. Then, if you ever need advice on how to improve, I’m sure your employees will be willing to help.

Image provided by cdresz

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Excellent article! I think what can be truly terrifying if there is a combination of boss. For example, the police chief with hunter tendencies. Talk about tanking morale and destroying relationships at work.  
I really appreciated that you gave solutions on how to combat these tendencies. I think as leaders we all have a penchant for at least one of the types, but awareness is half the battle!
Posted @ Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:25 AM by Michelle Mazur
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