During my career, I have worked for many leaders. Some were great leaders but others were questionable. Early in my career I worked for a very difficult leader.
When I joined the organization, my colleagues warned me to stay away from the boss.
As I settled into my desk, my cubicle mate told me “just keep your head down and stay off the radar.” Of course, I asked why but no one wanted to answer my question. Well, it didn’t take long for me to understand why everyone walked on egg shells around our leader.
Our organization was responsible for collecting and analyzing information. We would write reports based on our research. Every day, the boss would walk around barking orders. He would berate people publicly if he didn’t agree with their assessment. The day after he was reassigned, the office threw a party to celebrate his departure.
Almost everyone has an experience of feeling completely at the whim of an incompetent leader. We all know just how damaging the influence of one of these people can be.
So how do you know if you have worked with a bad boss? Here are five ways to identify a bad leader:
Office Politics: One of the worst feelings when things aren’t going well in an office is the feeling of being embroiled in office politics. This means people are talking about one another, subtly undermining each other and generally creating a bad atmosphere. Very often, it’s hard to precisely put your finger on what is wrong – there’s just a general air of discomfort.
Micromanagement: No one likes to be micromanaged and actually, this will very often create a lot more problems than it solves. This makes people feel like they’re being watched and removes the freedom , flexibility and empowerment for them to do things their way when necessary.
Lack of Direction: Worse, is a leader who shows no direction whatsoever. This person might be afraid to take responsibility for things that could go wrong, or they might just lack the understanding necessary to make smart decisions for the team. Either way, they shouldn’t be leading!
Emotions: A leader still has emotions but it’s important for them to have this under wraps. Being a good leader means being a barometer for the rest of the office and helping others to stay calm and in control. If your leader is constantly yelling at people and is visibly nervous, this won’t create a positive atmosphere at all.
Disinterest: Perhaps the biggest crime of all though is complete disinterest. If your leader is obviously not passionate about what they’re doing and resents being in the office, then this will have a big negative impact on the way the whole team feels. Just as passion is contagious, so is a lack thereof!
Specifically, ask yourselves what made them bad leaders, and what can I learn from them?
Have you worked with a bad leader?
Dr. Kim Moore, guiding YOU to lead with confidence!
Dr. Kim Moore
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