6 Traits of a Lousy Boss

655951448I suspect anyone who has been in business for a while could easily write this article. Those with even a few grey hairs probably have already had their share of good bosses and bad ones. Alas, probably more of the latter than the former.

I’ve heard people say, “when I am the boss I won’t make the same mistakes”. Sometimes that is true. Unfortunately, often it is not. I know earlier my career that the transition to being a leader wasn’t an easy one. It takes wisdom, fairness, leadership and self-confidence. It takes well developed listening skills. It also takes someone willing to make hard decisions, even unpopular ones, that are both fair and reasonable. It’s far easier to be a lousy boss.

So what are the characteristics of a lousy boss, a boss from hell?

1. Lack of trust

While trust needs to be earned (in both directions), lousy bosses do not trust anyone and as a result create a culture of backstabbing.

2. No communication

With some bosses all key information is held close to the vest. They constantly play “guess what I already know, but won’t tell you”.

3. Unfair pay among workers and play favorites

They create a dramatic inequity where those who “kiss up” get paid far more. There will always be some inequity in pay among staffers at a point in time, but wise bosses make sure inequity is short lived, if at all.

4. They hire poorly

They hire people who are similarly untrustworthy, bad people and are sycophants.

5. Take credit for work of others

They fail to give recognition to those who deserve it and worse yet, take credit for the work to try to look good to others. They don’t respect others and abuse junior workers.

6. Screamers

Everyone can have a bad day, but the constant screamer demeans and demoralizes.

So what should you do if you have a bad boss? That’s a tough one. Several strategies:

1. Leave the company

2. Confront your boss and artfully tell them you feel mistreated

3. Suck it up and hopefully outlive the relationship.

There’s no right answer, but I would recommend taking a longer view. Most importantly, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a lousy boss”? If so, it’s not too late to change your behavior. Good luck.

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  1. Mary Padula-Hite says:

    As usual, I enjoy reading your posts. The lousy boss though…ugh….brought back bad memories. I guess I survived the relationship. LOL.

    The summer job makes me happy. Waitress, nursing home, restaurant, country club…yeah, I learned how to be humble and carry trays. My son is a camp counselor. I think its great!

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