Bad Boss or Good Boss: Who Do You Work For?

 In bad boss, Coaching, Leadership, Leadership Development, management, Rick Conlow

Think of the worst supervisor or a bad boss you had. Chances are someone comes immediately to mind. Is it your currrent supervisor? Why do you consider this person “the worst?” How did he or she act? How did this bad boss’s approach affect your attitude and work effort? Did this person influence you to do your best?

Now, think of a situation where you had the best boss ever. It is harder to identify a boss who shines, isn’t it?  What was this person like, and what did he or she do differently? How did this person affect you and your work effort? Did you want to do a better job for the best boss versus worst boss? Of course!

The Impact of a Bad Boss

Bad Boss or a Good Boss, Who Do Your Work For?Regrettably, it’s far more likely that the majority of our work life has been spent reporting to bad bosses. Bad bosses continue to dominate the landscape of corporate America and global business today. Despite the research on effective leadership there are too many bad bosses. Gallup says 82% of managers fail. They are an epidemic killing off employee productivity, loyalty, creativity and company profit.

The worst bosses contribute to poor morale and bad attitudes, which lead to poor productivity, indifferent customer service, lower sales, reduced quality, and poorer overall financial results. They have employee turnover problems and often have to coerce or bribe employees to do things. Employees may perform because they have to, not because they want to. They are like mercenary soldiers being paid to do the job. They aren’t the spirited patriots fighting to protect their homes.

In big companies, poor bosses stand on every step of the corporate ladder. In smaller organizations, the owners or key executives are often the culprits. In fact, research from various suggests that there are many bad bosses out there. In addition:

  • Eighty percent of employees say they get no respect at work.
  • Less than 55 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs compared to 61.1 percent twenty years ago.
  • Globally, companies generated 85% employee disengagement.

I know what you are thinking, what about those awful bosses who get excellent results?  Yes, it does seem that some managers do well in spite of the pitiful leadership practices. In fact, if you talk to enough people, you’ll find poor bosses and good bosses can both achieve organizational objectives. The difference is in the “how” and what happens long-term. Lack of respect and poor relationships are weak fuel, leaving poor bosses with nothing to drive sustainable results. Results are unsustainable because poor bosses sap employees’ commitment and positive emotion to invest their best in their work. If a company keeps a bad boss, it transfers the person around a lot.

In other words, bad bosses’ behavior does eventually catch up with them (or their organizations), but unfortunately for their victims-the employees-and, it doesn’t seem to happen fast enough.

Your Supervisor: Bad Boss or Good Boss?

Bad Boss or a Good Boss, Who Do Your Work For?It’s a gloomy picture if we feel we can’t alter it. But we can. Knowing how dismal it can be to work for a bad boss, we can decide to be the good boss. And if we have a few rough edges (and don’t we all), we can get them polished. Maybe you can become an exceptional leader.

Start by looking at your team. The number one reason employees say they quit is because of unhappiness with their boss. Employees with bad bosses are four times more likely to leave than employees who believe they have good bosses.. Interviews in seven hundred companies of 2 million employees suggest that the productivity of employees depends on their relationship to their boss.  Also, how do you stack up on these characteristics?

Bad Bosses (Toxic or negative workplace and lack of support)

  1. Commands and controls employees.
  2. Operates with position power.
  3. Communicates ambiguity.
  4. Tells employees what to do with little or no input.
  5. Takes advantage of others
  6. Talks “I” and is egotistical.
  7. Takes the credit for wins.
  8. Blames others for problems.
  9. Offers little training or coaching.
  10. Manages with fear, conflict, or avoidance.
  11. Overall, lacks empathy and humility.

Good Bosses (Excellent working relationships and positive atmosphere)

  1. Listens and asks for employee input.
  2. Engages through positive influence.
  3. Communicates with passion and clarity.
  4. Models the way or leads by example.
  5. Respects others as partners.
  6. Talks “We” and teamwork.
  7. Shares credit for wins.
  8. Owns the problems.
  9. Provides on-going training and development.
  10. Leads with integrity.
  11. Acts as a Servant Leader Coach.

Pulling It All Together

The truth we never really work for a bad boss.  We go through the motions and do not give our best stuff. With a good boss we show and go the extra mile because we wanted to. Why? Because our boss communicates, appreciates, and supports us.

If you are a manager at some level, how do you start to become a better boss? If you want your team to be better, you must become a better leader. So, keep learning: read leadership books, attend seminars and webinars, and get a personal coach. Ask for feedback and be willing to change. Do this consistently and apply new strategies immediately. As a result, you will accelerate your career success and that of your team.

By the way, if you work for a bad boss, see this post 7 Courageous Ways to Deal with a Horrible Boss.

Also, go here for this video training: The Servant Leader Coach.

In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Over 250 self-directed microlearning resources at your fingertips!

Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success and learn more about Servant Leadership? Go here for Rick’s newest book, The 5 Dynamics of Servant Leadership: Inspire Your Team to Achieve 



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