Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Real Reasons You're a Terrible Leader

If you’re in any kind of leadership position, chances are you don’t go into work every day telling yourself, “I’m going to be the worst boss I can possibly be. Yes! Today is a new day to truly suck as a leader!”
Yet, somehow, your team believes that is exactly what you must be doing.
You’re one of those kinds of bosses that they gripe about at happy hour. You’re the boss that they equate with Attila the Hun, Nurse Ratched and Dunder Mifflin’s Michael Scott.
You may be discouraged that your team doesn’t hold you in high regard. It may make you angry. It may surprise you. But however you’re feeling, you need to push it aside and figure out what has gone wrong.
Because if you don’t fix it, you can bet that your rotten leadership will eventually hurt your career because a team that doesn’t like the leadership will be less productive, innovative and collaborative.
And who will senior leadership hold responsible for that lackluster performance?
So, let’s look at what you’re doing that makes your team think you are such a ghastly boss and the consequences of your actions:
  1. All you need is a crown. You believe it’s your job to give orders, and the team is there to hustle off to do your bidding. Aren’t they lucky to have a job? They are paid to do what you tell them, right? Then why all the whining and snarky faces? The problem is that your snooty attitude is not only unprofessional, but demeaning.  Your “loyal subjects” will quickly be looking for a way to stage a revolt and won’t offer any new ideas or solutions since you act like such a royal pain in the arse.
  2. You’re a clock watcher. You’re not watching for 5 p.m. to roll around so you can leave. You’re watching closely to see who leaves on time so that you can make them later feel like a slacker for not staying late. You also make a point of noting if someone takes an extra 10 minutes at lunch, expect people to answer your 11 p.m. emails immediately and generally treat your workers like they’re schoolchildren. Your behavior lets them know that you don’t trust them to use their time wisely so they remain guarded in offering any innovative solutions, feeling like they’ll be rebuffed by the belittling boss. Your insulting behavior is demoralizing and has them looking for jobs during their lunch hour.
  3. You believe coaching and feedback are synonymous with criticism.  You believe your job is to point out what an employee is doing wrong. After all, how can the worker improve if you aren’t pointing out his or her mistakes?  While it’s true that workers need to be told when they’re headed in the wrong direction, they also need to be told when they’re doing something right. If your feedback is nothing more than a chance to micromanage, then you’re setting up a negative culture that slows down processes and leads to an inefficient team that feels defeated by your constant harping.
  4. You fix the blame, not the problem. If something goes wrong, you immediately look for who is responsible (or think might be responsible) so you (read more here)


Will Truex said...

Good post. Leader and oppressor share the same thin line.

Megan said...

The most important thing you can do as a boss is make everyone who is a part of your team to feel valued. By studying each individual and learning their strong points, you can better choose which tasks go to who and capitalize on their individual talents while boosting their feelings of self-worth.