Having a bad boss is everyone’s nightmare. But what’s worse than that finding out that you are the bad boss. But don’t panic just yet. First things first, no one sets out wanting to be a bad boss. And with so much on your plate (while it shouldn’t be an excuse), it can be easier to let your managerial performance slip as a leader.
So, the question is–are you really a bad boss? Here are 5 signs that reveal you might be a tough boss to work for and how you can be a better one.
#1 You Micromanange Your Employees
Always checking in with your employees to get updates on their work? If you wish to control every step of the project and scrutinise every detail, you might be displaying signs of a micromanager. Interfering with your employee’s tasks causes a stressful working environment and stuns their ability to perform better.
Micromanagers exert control to deal with their internal anxiety. To stop such behaviour, focus on the end goal, not the steps taken by your employees to get there. Give your team the freedom to do their best work without you constantly looking over their shoulder. Employees thrive better with a certain degree of autonomy over their own work.
#2 Your Employees Are Afraid Of You
Any form of bullying in the workplace wears down the spirit and emotional wellbeing of employees. Signs of a workplace bully include intimidating staff, hurling insults at them, discounting their achievements and hindering their success. Such non-physical forms of aggression are destructive and leave the employees feeling fearful and helpless.
Often, acts of bullying stem from feelings of shame and inadequacy. And it happens to the best of us. That might cause us to unintentionally project these feelings others to feel better about ourselves.
To tackle this, be aware of the negative emotions you are feeling and how you might be deflecting it onto others. By facing these unwelcome feelings head-on, they become less damaging in the long term. If it is challenging to overcome it on your own, talk to someone about it or seek professional help.
#3 You Often Talk Over Your Staff
Notice the topics that arise in conversations with your workers. Do they revolve around your experiences and achievements? Or your employee’s ideas and opinions? If you tend to hog the spotlight in conversations, it might be that you are more interested in talking more about yourself than listening to others.
If you recognise these traits in yourself–which is hard–it’s a good start to self-improvement. To keep narcissistic tendencies away, be empathetic to others and consider how they would feel.
Listen as much as (or more than) you talk, and make sure the conversation doesn’t end up back on you. Pause and think through your response before replying. Exercising mindfulness will help to catch narcissistic tendencies and over time, you might be able to keep those self-absorbed traits in check.
The key here is to set appropriate boundaries. There is no hard and fast rule on whether you should befriend your employee, but if you do, proceed with caution. Set expectations at the start and keep your actions professional, not personal.
Keep in mind that having a good rapport with your workers does not mean you have to befriend them too. Bosses can choose to build rapport based on mutual respect and care, without initiating a friendship.
#4 You Are Never In
Yes, all bosses are busy. Perhaps your calendar is jam-packed, and you are always on the run. But an absentee boss can be frustrating for the employees. They might have to pick up the slack, adding on to their workload and responsibilities. Hardworking employees might feel disheartened as their efforts are not appreciated.
A good boss empowers, encourages and enables the team to their best work. And to do so, you must be present in the office and be involved. Too much involvement leads to micromanagement. But too little of it can be discouraging for employees.
Strike the right balance between the two and ensure you are present enough to provide clear direction and constructive feedback for the team.
Being A Better Boss
Companies need their employees to be productive and engaged, and the bosses/managers are the critical touchpoint. To ensure employee satisfaction, it is crucial for bosses to improve on their leadership styles.
Apart from that, companies can also be committed to building a bully-free organisation. While you might be the only manager now, the number of managerial positions will increase alongside your company’s growth. Implement clear whistle-blowing policies and procedures to investigate and address bullying in the workplace.
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