The Bad Boss Can Be A Bully

Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper to make two columns. In one column list the qualities of the Worst Boss you have ever had. In the other column list the qualities of your Best Boss.

bad-boss-2If you are like the hundreds of people I have asked to do this in seminars, the list of the Worst Boss may include:

  • Never asked me for  my opinions
  • Always yelled, never “talked” to me
  • Had a holier-than-thou attitude
  • Never allowed people to take risks (always played it safe)
  • Made comments about women and immigrants but people went along with it

Bad bosses can become school yard bullies; impulsive, hot-headed, they dominate a group, lack empathy and don’t think the rules apply to them.

A study of nearly 200 business leaders in manufacturing and service organizations  identified some characteristic of bad bosses. The top five were:

  1. Arrogant, prideful, inflexible and always right
  2. Unprincipled, untrustworthy, misrepresenting the truth and lie
  3. Fail to create clear direction and performance expectations
  4. Did not give feedback or recognition
  5. Bad communication skills and practices.

Bad bosses can create toxic workplaces, causing  irreparable harm to workers; stress, depression and even physical illnesses.

The disturbing thing is that bad bosses are hired and often supported by organizations simply because they bring in lots of money.  That’s one reason companies fail to take action against them until it’s too late; for example, after a particularly nasty harassment or human rights complaint. And in too many cases, the bad boss remains and the complaining employee is fired, bought out or quits.

ideal-employeeThe good news is that the bad boss can often be neutralized by the characteristics of the Ideal Employee:

  1. Be a leader
  2. Be ambitious
  3. Be confident
  4. Be modest
  5. Be honest
  6. Be hardworking

Of course there is no guarantee the Bad Boss will be fired or that you won’t quit in frustration. Someone once said that one measure of personal character is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and not gag. Bullying bad bosses see something entirely different when they look in the mirror.

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