Are You a Horrible Boss?

As a leadership development coach I have truly seen them all: great leaders and awful leaders. And while you are probably not on par with the worst I have ever encountered, you could still be the source of your employees’ lack of motivation.

One of the worst cases of “nightmare boss” I have ever encountered was a leader who, among other violations, measured performance based on what had been accomplished rather than what should have been accomplished. Even worse was that his only measurement system was his own financial net worth, which did not take into account the number of employees he lost as a result of his horrible management practices.

According to Topgrading by Bradford D. Smart, the cost of a poorly performing CEO is 24 times their base salary. Think about that while I detail the other things that make a horrible boss.

  • Compete with employees. Whenever someone in the organization exhibits influence with others, or has more knowledge in certain subjects, a horrible boss goes out of his/her way to denigrate them or directly reduce their power.
  • Lack follow-through. Horrible bosses chastise individuals for their lack of follow-through while rarely delivering on commitments themselves.
  • Stifle innovation. If you encourage employees to think outside the box, then penalize and publicly humiliated anyone who has an idea you don’t agree with, you are a horrible boss.
  • Handle mistakes poorly. Bad bosses are overly emotional when people made mistakes. They mark star employees as problematic for one mistake.
  • Lack commitment to goals­. Consistently lacking commitment to goals and regularly changing them makes you a very bad boss.
  • Reward the wrong behaviors. Reward people on how well they pleased you rather than on actual work performance. Bad boss.
  • Talk behind people’s backs. Talk poorly about people behind their backs in order to try to boost your own image and you are a horrible boss.
  • Divulge confidential information. Blabbing about employees’ private and confidential information is not only potentially illegal it is also the mark of a very bad boss.
  • No integrity. Insist that employees live up to a standard you do not practice yourself is hypocritical and the hallmark of a horrible boss.

If you are guilty of one or more of these habits on a consistent basis, you are undoubtedly reducing organizational performance. In the end, it comes down to the values you project to others by your actions, not your words. Unfortunately, many leaders do not consistently display the values that drive top performance and in most cases are the cause of their “A” employees jumping ship.

Did you ever have a bad boss? If so what made them a bad boss?

Howard Shore is a leadership development coach who works with companies that need leadership development and strategic business coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about leadership development coaching through AGI, please contact Howard at 305.722.7213 or email him.