What are Signs of a Bad Boss?
First, understand that your boss may not know they are a bad boss. A hands-off manager may not realize that failure to provide any direction or feedback is a symptom of a bad boss. What are signs of a bad boss?
Mistakes a Bad Boss Makes
Many of the mistakes that bad bosses make are centered around poor communication and transparency. In essence, bad bosses are bad because they are not very effective communicators.
1. Company Vision
Is there a compelling vision for the company, that projects a remarkable future, but few of the employees have heard of it or could explain it if asked? Poorly communicating the company vision is a sign at being a bad boss.
2. Company Mission
Is there a company mission that addresses customer needs, yet operations fails to measure progress towards the mission? Poorly communicating the company mission is another sign at being a bad boss.
3. Business Objectives
Do business objectives focus on increasing revenue and profitability, yet assets are performing poorly, generating negative cash flows, or encumbered by debt? Poorly chosen business objectives is a sign at being a bad boss.
Is employee turnover mentioned (positive or negative) without noting what employee turnover or performance metrics are for the industry? Employees tend to leave bad bosses so bad bosses tend to not talk about turnover because it is a reflection of their own management.
5. Working IN the Business, Not ON the Business
Is a lot of time spent working IN the business on tactics, yet there is a failure to spend a greater amount of time working ON the business to define strategy, performance metrics, and standard operating procedures (SOP)? Working IN the business and not ON the business is a sign of a bad boss.
6. Communicating the Status of the Business
Are there regular interactions with employees, yet failure to communicate the status of objectives, financials, or metrics? Communicating the status of the business is something that bad bosses do because they are bad at communicating.
Is money available for employee training, yet no measure of how that training helps the company achieve its goals? Bad bosses use training budgets poorly.
8. Benchmarks for Success
Is there a constant strive to improve company performance without comparing it against external benchmarks for success?
9. Objective Measures of Customer Satisfaction
Is there a belief that all of the customers, employees, and vendors love the company, yet there’s no objective process for measuring their satisfaction on a frequent basis? Bad bosses lack objective measures of customer satisfaction.
10. Creating Budgets based on Past Performance
Are forecasts and budgets produced without achieving the agreed upon goals or learn from the past experience to improve in the future? If the budget is set based on last year and not on market conditions, then this is a sign of a bad boss.
If you are aware that management is making these mistakes, how do you deal with it? Business executives face many difficult daily challenges like creating and dominating new markets or finding and keeping the best people. But many executives spend too much time solving everyday problems, which prevent them from growing the business and from developing the technical skills to be a great manager.
1. Be Nice to Your Boss
Never be rude or give your boss a reason to talk bad about you. Be a better person than your boss. Part of coping with a bad boss is helping your boss to not be a bad boss.
2. Avoid Complaining
Talk to your boss, but don’t yell or complain — your boss will win the argument. So, what do you say when you’re coping with a bad boss? Tell your boss what you need in terms of direction, feedback and support. Be polite and focus on your needs. Telling your boss he’s a bad boss is counterproductive and won’t help you meet your goals. Learn to communicate with your boss.
Do a self-check. Make sure it’s not you and your boss does not have solid reasons or justifications for their behavior. Then keep track of what you accomplish.
4. Be Objective
Communicate with your boss objectively, with evidence of your accomplishments. Learn to manage your time and note what you get done so you are prepared to confront your boss with data (objective evidence) and not opinions.
5. Clarify Your Performance Measures
Use objective measures. Anticipate what your boss is looking for and make sure you are focused on those measures before your performance review.
6. Don’t Burn Bridges
Be popular. Get to know other people in your company. Be nice to everyone. Especially other managers. Be seen as a problem-solver and make sure your boss’ peers know it. This could help if your boss talks about how bad you are, but others see you as helpful.
7. Be Careful When Talking to HR or Your Boss’s Boss
Don’t expect HR to solve the problem. The problem with going to higher ups or HR to complain about a bad boss is that they will support the boss most of the time. Once you complain you will be on your boss’ radar until you’re fired or you become miserable enough to quit. Sorry, that’s just the reality of corporate life…
8. Learn to Pick Your Battles
One of the qualities great leaders understand is timing is everything in life. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Take charge of your life and learn to control what you can. If you bother your boss about every little thing, then your boss will begin to ignore your comments. Make sure you focus on what’s important.
9. Laugh and Use Your Humor to Cope
Don’t take life so seriously, but have your resume ready. If your life under this boss is really uncomfortable, then you should start looking for a new job. If all else fails, you have to transfer or leave.
If it did not work out, then don’t let it happen again. Understand the warning signs and look for those signs in the next job situation. Learn to anticipate what your boss needs, document what you get done, be popular, be nice, avoid complaining, and most of all be objective.
Coping with a Bad Boss
The main management mistakes that bad bosses make may suggest what the qualities of a good boss are. Coping with a bad boss can be done giving you more options than running away and quitting?