Having A Bad Boss Is A Great Way To Learn How To Be A Good Boss
My last encounter with a bad boss was April 2011. She was not my first but she was definitely an experience. She was truly the worst boss I had and the sad part about it was that the organization she worked for knew it. In having to deal with her on a regular basis, I took some time to observe her and realized that she was terribly disorganized, not very well liked by peers, subordinates, even her own managers. She frequently passed off her knowledge(which were thoughts she took from others) as all she needed to be respected. It was frustrating and sad but out of that negative experience, I found that there among all of those bad bosses I had, there were at least 4 habits that any boss needed to have if they hope to be a better boss:
- Pay Attention to Details – I remember being in a weekly meeting and
hearing one of our marketing directors stumble through campaign questions posed by a vice president. She was not able to provide any details as to why she implemented the strategy or what were the results. This was not surprising. She was notorious for being a bad boss (and that’s putting it nicely) because she would pass off the details to her subordinates while she disappeared for days on end claiming “work from home.” Then when she misspoke the research or didn’t get it on her desk in a timely fashion (even though she was hardly at her desk), she blamed them for not getting the information to her quickly enough. Seeing her in action made me realize that her lack of attention to details called her credibility into question as a director and team leader.
- Show them what you can do, not just what you know – There’s a saying: knowing is half the battle. Bad bosses believe statements littered with those often ill-used buzz words are all that are required to speak to senior management executives. They spout statistics and research but when it comes to the execution of plans, they come up short. There are only so many ways to spin and rebrand what you know but to break through that middle management rut, actions speak louder than words.
- Have a team that’s smarter than you – To a bad boss, this seems counterintuitive because they need to be the smartest one in the room. There’s a belief that any team where the leader is the smartest one is destined for failure. The fact is that no boss is a subject matter expert for everything. It’s too exhausting and not a little arrogant. A good boss needs to have team members that can make suggestions and take initiatives based on his or her expertise. Another great benefit of having team members that are smarter than you in certain subjects is that you learn and can use that knowledge on other projects you’re leading.
- Go that extra mile – It’s easy to say that’s not my job and in some cases, it’s warranted because the last thing you want is to step on a peer’s toes. But having that as a permanent motto can be construed as selfish. If you’re doing just what is required of you then how can you expect to get more recognition, better projects, or even more resources, which as a boss could mean funding or hires? Taking the time to do a little extra helps bosses professionally and politically because as you may know selfish people don’t get to ask for favors.
There will always be bad bosses but instead of complaining about them (too much) watch them. They can teach volumes about who you shouldn’t be to succeed.
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Dianne Dixon, CAPM, Entrepreneur, Farmer, Blogger and Author of the Jamaican Foods Min-E-Book. She writes on a variety of subjects including Health & Wellness, Personal Development, Career & more! Follow her on Twitter: @Transitionyte