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The Bad Boss Syndrome

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Office leadership roles are complicated to say the very least. Workload and position expectations aside, such a position also requires individuals to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of being a positive mentor and advocate for his/her employees.

The movie Horrible Bosses, released in 2011, is an interesting take on what it’s like to work for the worst kind of boss. And while the movie is quite far-fetched in many ways (Jennifer Aniston’s role especially), it may resonate with those of you who are dealing with complicated and frustrating situations with your own boss/employee relationship.

First and foremost, let’s be very clear: being the boss is not an easy task. The heavy weight of responsibility alone is often exhausting. Not only do leaders have their own work to contend with, but they also have to simultaneously keep their superiors happy as well as those in their charge; and that’s while operating under the expectation that you alone can please both sides of the company. It’s pretty obvious that’s practically impossible to do! And yet, there is no way around it.

According to a survey commissioned by Lynn Taylor Consulting:

A bad boss will likely jeopardize your career growth and impact your personal life . . . A good manager will help you thrive and bring out the best in you. While it’s rarely top of mind, you can empower yourself with a terrible boss, especially if you watch for red flags.

Being the boss means you must wear many hats and achieve each role with as much success as is anticipated and defined by the job itself. So, when expectations go unmet, the stakes are high and consequences are much worse. Not only are you letting yourself down (which is hard enough to contend with), but you’re letting your employees down as well. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds pretty darn intimidating.

bad boss

© Flickr user ben dalton

Let’s be honest, there is probably a rather large learning curve that accompanies any leadership position. So, for anyone who is a boss, it’s important to first recognize that you too have weaknesses. The areas you may find difficult are ones you should immediately identify and work on because admitting that personal failure exists is imperative. After all, if you can accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then your employees and superiors won’t expect you to be either.

Taken from the article 21 Signs You Have A Terrible Boss, here are eight traits that are particularly problematic:

8 Bad Boss Traits Highlighted By AccelaWork:

4. You Contact Employees During Their Time Off
5. You’re a Micro Manager

In our opinion, these two traits go hand in hand. Chances are, if you’re contacting employees during their vacation, then you are a micro manager. In either case, you must respect and trust that they can do their job. As a leader, you should be the first person to reassure your employees that vacation time is important and deserved. By doing so, you’re reinforcing their need for rejuvenation which not only helps boost productivity, but maintains a positive level of satisfaction while preventing any burnout.

6. You’re Unwilling to Listen to Ideas
8. You Provide Vague, Unuseful Feedback

Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean that you are the only one who has ideas. In fact, as leader of a team, it’s your priority to seek out the innovative thinkers and flourish their ideas with useful, meaningful feedback. Bottom line: open the door and encourage employees to innovate, create and communicate.

14. You Keep Employees Stagnant
15. You’re Employees are Unmotivated to Work
16. You Never Discuss Employee Growth Prospects

Again, these traits all go hand in hand. When employees feel that growth in the company is impossible, their motivation goes out the window. Can you really blame them? As a leader, it may be difficult to discuss with employees where they need to improve. But, avoiding this conversation altogether isn’t doing any favors either. Don’t leave employees in the dark. Openly discuss their strengths and weaknesses and give them the tools necessary to improve their position.

18. You Have Unrealistic Standards and/or Expectations

Having realistic expectations for you employees is imperative. It’s important to maintain perspective. If you’re goal is that a new employee will be up and running soundly in their job within the first few weeks of employment, then you have unrealistic expectations. Tone it down a notch; otherwise, you’ll leave employees (and yourself) at an extreme disadvantage.

Be wary of the Bad Boss Syndrome! The cure is equal doses of introspection and education. Good luck making it through!

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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