The Sad Truth: 5 Signs That You’re a Bad Boss

Signs you're a bad boss

Are you an effective leader or a bad boss? Use this checklist to help find out. 

Are you doing all you can to bring out the best in your employees?

Taking stock of the job you’re doing as a manager requires asking yourself tough questions and not shying away from uncomfortable answers. Yes, it’s a difficult process to see through, but honest self-assessment pays numerous positive dividends.

These five questions can help you get the ball rolling and ensure that the term “bad boss” is never associated with you or your management style.

1. Do you set a bad example by your overall attitude on the job?

A bad boss tends to see the proverbial glass as half empty. Keep in mind that your team looks to you for leadership, taking cues in ways that go beyond your verbal instructions. Maintaining an optimistic attitude in challenging circumstances, rather than throwing up your arms in disgust, helps keep everyone moving forward. There will be rough patches, but if you stay focused on progress rather than obstacles, your staff will likely do the same.

2. Are you the kind of boss who micromanages to a fault?

Everyone needs some assistance from time to time, but too much “help” can quickly become a hindrance. Rather than delegating authority and trusting that things will get done properly, micromanagers get bogged down in trivial details and minor variations. If you’re one of those managers who wants to control every move your team makes, or who wants to personally make every decision no matter how small, you run a real risk of eroding staff motivation. Check in with yourself before you interfere. If your obsessive attention to detail doesn’t serve a practical purpose, do yourself a favor and let it go.

3. Are you hard to reach when you may be needed?

Even the most dedicated manager needs some time away from the day-to-day demands of the job, but that doesn’t mean being unreachable. If you know you’ll be deviating from your usual schedule, be sure to let the appropriate personnel know of your plans. The office should be able to run smoothly without you, but it’s always a good idea to be available in case an emergency requires your attention.

4. Do you publicly berate employees who don’t meet your expectations?

It can be easy to get upset when Jane misses a deadline or Joe misplaces an important file. But before you openly chastise an employee – even in a small way – ask yourself how your response will best serve office productivity and morale going forward. If you feel the need to discuss someone’s performance, do so in private and allow time for the person to share any thoughts. Productive communication goes far beyond mere displays of authority.

5. Do you play favorites based on personal feelings rather than professional competence?

It’s human nature to get along better with some people than others, and that’s OK. But when it comes to workplace dynamics, choices about who will work on various projects and assignments should be based on demonstrable skills and abilities. Ask yourself if you’ve made any decisions based more on personalities than professionalism. If you have that tendency, make a mental note to avoid letting favoritism undermine your managerial effectiveness.

Now that you recognize the signs of being a bad boss, read on to see if you need to rethink your approach to employee appreciation.