Could you be a bad boss?

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Nobody sets out to be a bad boss but long hours and a heavy work load can cause many people to behave in ways they always swore they wouldn’t.

However, the change from optimistic up-and-comer to cynical supervisor is often a gradual one and it’s not always easy to spot your mistakes.

Now, recruitment giant Robert Half has provided a guide to help managers check they’re not going down the wrong path. According to the firm, there are nine common traits to look out for:

You are unable to communicate

There are many occasions that need good communication skills: giving instructions, sharing praise, announcing deadlines or providing positive and negative feedback. Good bosses are comfortable addressing people on a one-on-one basis and as a group.

And because communication is a two-way street, employees also have to feel they can talk to you.

You keep secrets

Sure, there are many things in the business that are not for public consumption. But if you are particularly opaque, your team will have a hard time trusting you.

“Wherever possible, keep your staff informed as to what is going on in the company, both within your team and the organisation. Employees will appreciate your openness and it reduces the likelihood of rumours spreading,” said Megan Alexander, GM of Robert Half New Zealand

You make inconsistent decisions

If you respond in a different way to the same situation, your staff will find it difficult to take comfort in your judgment or take you seriously.

Alexander advises that if you have to make decisions that are out of the usual, you must explain to your team why you did so.

You take all the credit and none of the blame

A team is a team. Nobody likes a boss who reaps all the credit when things go well, and blames others when they go awry.

“Make sure you give credit where credit is due and keep people motivated when things don’t work out as planned.”
You micro-manage everything

Imagine a boss watching employees like a hawk all day, every day, scrutinising their every move and giving instructions at every turn.

“To get the best out of your employees, you need to give them autonomy in the workplace, especially if you’re the kind of leader who believes in fostering their career development,” said Alexander.

“If you're not confident in their ability to do the job to the required standard, then delegate the work to another team member, or invest in training.”
You make unreasonable demands

Examples of such demands are expecting employees to come into the office early, stay late, work through their lunch hour, or cancel their annual leave at short notice.

All these will sour relations and make the workplace less conducive for productivity.

“As a boss, you should avoid asking your employees to do anything you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself,” Alexander said.

You pick favourites

A bad boss treats team members differently.  This undermines one’s authority, Alexander said, because a manager’s job is to treat all employees equally.

You shout to get heard

There are days in which things will not go as planned.  Bad bosses lose it bad. Even in the worst of times, a leader is not supposed to snap at employees or storm out of the room or shout just to make everybody know who’s boss.

“It’s important to be able to control your emotions, whilst expressing your views in a clear, controlled, effective and professional manner,” Alexander said.

“A bad boss can have an immediate impact on a company through lower productivity, poor morale and higher staff turnover,” she continued.

“Poor leadership can have direct consequences for the wider business through missed objectives and increased costs, which can significantly decrease company revenue.”

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