Four Toxic Bosses and How Not to Be One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s not something you like to think about but there are probably employees that work for you that don’t like you. To think that everybody who works for you is going to have nothing but positive remarks about you is unrealistic but if people scatter when you enter a room, the problem may be more about you than about them. Ask yourself if any of these people sound like you.

The Waffler

The waffler is someone who can’t make up his or her mind. You answer every question with, “probably,” “maybe,” “we’ll look into it,” or “that’s an interesting idea.” You’re so mindful of not being rude that you rarely give a straight, authoritative, concrete answer. That, to many of your employees, is annoying.

If that’s you, provide a yes or no answer if you immediately know what needs to be said. If you’re not sure, tell them that you want to think about it but you’ll have an answer tomorrow. Invite them to ask again if you don’t get to them first.

The Controller

If only your employees worked as hard and had the passion for your business that you do. Nobody does their job as well as you and if you aren’t there to watch everything, the business is likely to implode. This is the controller. They watch every move, listen to every conversation, and when the business is open, they’re there.

If you aren’t putting your trust and confidence in your employees, why should they share your passion? They probably feel put down and disrespected. Give your employees some latitude and treat them like professionals. If they truly do require you to micromanage, perhaps they should look for another job. If your employees do a good job, support them in the way they need it. That might mean walking away.

The “Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

You’re always harping on employees to arrive on time but you’re frequently late. You don’t like seeing phones during work hours but you’re always texting away on yours. You know this person or if that’s you, you can be sure that your employees notice and they’re talking about it.

There are two ways to earn the respect of your employees in cases like these. Either have less rules so neither you nor your employees have to follow them or be the outstanding example. If you’re a stickler for time, make sure you’re the first to arrive and the last to leave.

The Favorite Employee Picker

She’s attractive so you’re a bit of flirt. He’s a great golfer and you would love to get some pointers from him. He’s the company brown-nose. Offices are full of these people but as the owner, you can’t afford to show favoritism toward any employee. Others will notice and the have-nots will get together and talk about it. The result: lower office morale.

If you want to socialize after hours, invite everybody. If you want to give somebody extra hours or responsibility, give somebody else the option the next time the opportunity arises.

Bottom Line

Most business owners were once employees and remember that just like in politics, very little goes unnoticed. If any of those people sound like you, take small steps to change your ways. Change doesn’t happen after one attempt. Be patient but make the effort. The success of your business is largely dictated by your managerial skills.


One response to “Four Toxic Bosses and How Not to Be One

  1. Dead on! From a recovering Toxic Boss! Progress not perfection!

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