It’s true, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.
We’ve all had that one bad boss — or maybe we’ve had a few. A bad boss will stay with you, even years after you’ve left the company, they’ll become an example of what to avoid at your next job and on a positive note, a reminder of the boss you never want to become!
The Bad Ones
There are a few types of bad bosses out there. First, there’s the angry type that like to yell a lot. They don’t care for your personal problems, or why you’re late — they just care that you were and how it impacts them.
They shout because they like the sound of their own voice and they think that a raised authoritative tone equals managerial prowess. These bosses are poorly deluded, fail to lead by example and therefore lacking respect from their subordinates.
Another type of boss; the manipulative boss. They’ll give you a cunning smile and lead you into a false sense of job security.
Highly motivated and strategic in their approach, this boss can seem like a good ally and role model to learn from.
This type of boss is excellently presented, always inspiring you to do better and work a little harder. Before you know it, you’re staying late, fulfilling jobs that aren’t part of your role and now you can’t say no!
What’s even worse, this boss is taking all the credit for the fruits of your labour!! Be wary of these ones, they have their eye on the prize and will trample over anyone to get to the top.
These are quite possibly the worst! Squeezing past too closely, making rude or suggestive comments, promising a quick rise in the ranks and suggesting “you’ll fit in well here!”
Generally anything with a sexual connotation has no place in the workspace. These types will often prey on the more junior staff members, who often have little experience in the working world. This behaviour should always be reported.
We’ve all come across the Martyr!
Committed to the end. They’ll stay late, work weekends, miss kid’s birthdays, work whilst sick and generally, work is just their life!
Don’t try to compete, don’t try to mimic, just let them be! They’ll be there long after you are gone. These types of bosses can often be set in their ways and unreceptive to change. These bosses aren’t necessarily bad, just often too emotionally attached and stagnated.
None of these boss types are ideal but different personality types often work better under different managerial styles.
Often personality types can be segregated by industry sector. For example, many cold call sales roles, would attract more of an extrovert personality, which may be better suited to a highly animated, enthusiastic and target focused boss.
What about the other side of the coin, the friendly bosses?
What’s Wrong With Being Friendly? Everyone wants to be liked. Right?
It makes sense that employees are more likely to talk to an approachable boss. Perhaps they’re having problems at home that’s hindering their job performance, maybe they’re struggling with the workload, or maybe there’s even a dispute in the office between employees.
If the boss isn’t approachable and friendly, the company and workplace might never see any of these issues come to light, let alone be resolved.
However, if the boss is amiable and welcoming, the employees are more likely to go and confide in them about the issues that are bothering them, be it a workplace or personal problem.
This can be a positive approach from a boss’s perspective, because it means that they can resolve conflict quickly and efficiently, to ensure limited disruption to the office, whilst also ensuring their employees’ wellbeing and happiness. It also makes the employee feel more valued.
But What About Being Taken Advantage Of?
As a boss, its great being friends with your employees, the office environment is more jovial, communications are generally more open and friends can often work harder to help he business reach its potential.
But being friends with employees may also have an adverse effect. Lack of fear about underperforming can actually relieve pressure for them.
Targets can seem less important and of course there is no stress about the end of week meeting and performance review, if you are all hitting the town for wines afterwards?
Likewise, being available to listen when your employees are having issues is a real positive characteristic of any boss, but you also need to make sure that certain boundaries remain.
The talks can’t continue every day, especially if the issues aren’t work related. If you can help find a resolution great, if you can’t, the employee needs to develop an action plan of their own.
Whilst your employee’s mental health is of paramount importance, as a boss you need to remain focused on running your business efficiently to.
Hiscox reports (1) that employers are likely to be happier and more productive in the workplace if they have friends there.
The average UK worker spends more time with their colleagues than they do with their romantic partners and family.
But even though we spend most of our time in the office, workplace relationships are still more likely to be just surface level.
It makes perfect sense that employees will be happier in their workplace if they have a friend to spend their time with.
As a boss, you can encourage workplace bonds to grow with team building activities, sports teams or afterwork social get togethers, but it may be wise to hold back a little and remain a little elusive to the rest of your team.
This can be especially important if you are stepping into a new role. Once the hierarchy is recognised and expectations are established you can let your guard down a little.
Firm But Friendly
Any relationship in life, whether working or personal, needs to be built on trust. There should be a balance.
As long as there is mutual respect between the employee and boss, as well as enjoyment for the work, why shouldn’t you be friends with your boss? It’ll make work far more enjoyable if you can get on with everyone, especially the management.
And as a boss, why motivate your employees with fear and figures? Instead, lead from the front, work hard and share the company successes.
If people like you, they’re more likely to work harder for you and be more productive. Why wouldn’t you want to create a work environment you know your employees will feel comfortable in?
But that doesn’t mean you can’t give them the tough talk. If you’re professional, direct yet empathic, when you have to get tough, they’ll know you’re serious.
Sometimes you have to break bad news, an extra shift here, or another deadline there. Being friendly about it will soften the blow.
According to a recent CIPD report,(2) the workplace is “making our wellbeing worse” and was doing so “even before the COVID-19 crisis started.”
The report suggests that a lot of people’s work lives affect their personal lives and their mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation backs this up, concluding that the workplace does affect mental health.
According to them, 1 in 6.8 people (3) suffer from mental health issues in the workplace, and 12.7% of sick days are due to mental health problems and the World Health Organization (4) lists poor communication and management practices; as one of the Work-related risk factors for health
From our own experiences, it’s easy to identify the traits of bad bosses, let’s look at the qualities of a good boss, it’s actually not rocket science:
Ten Qualities of a Great boss
- Communicates a clear vision and mission of the business
- Translates that vision into an action plan
- Provides clear, realistic tasks and expectations
- Provides positive and constructive feedback, offering solutions or extra training in areas of weakness
- Leads by examples and can share their own personal experiences and challenges
- Cares about all employees, regardless of hierarchy
- Creates a fun working environment
- Encourages team development and motivates staff to challenge themselves
- Creates an open forum for employee feedback and values different perspectives
- Recognises and rewards good performance
If you’re approachable and receptive, give your team a voice and value their opinions, celebrate the business successes together, you’ll be on the right track. After all, happy workers are 13% (5)more productive.
Clare Jones works with the marketing team at Custom Neon. A manufacturer and retailer of stunning LED neon signs.
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When she isn’t busy neonifying the world, you can usually find her hiking in the great outdoors or more recently having a dabble at writing!