Even the most amazing job in the world can feel like a nightmare when you have a bad boss. As an employee, both your happiness and your health may suffer if you're toiling away under a bad boss.
And if you yourself are that bad boss? You could be stifling your team's productivity, running off valuable staff, and damaging your company's bottom line.
What makes a bad boss? Below, I've listed seven characteristics that I believe play significant roles in making someone a bad boss. Do you recognize any of these characteristics in yourself? I hope not! But if you do, I challenge you to change your mindset and becoming the amazing boss your team needs.
1. You Need to Have Control
The members of your team have hopefully all been hired because of what they contribute. A good boss will give direction and suggestions while allowing each team member to do the work as they see fit.
If someone on your team isn't doing things the way you want them to be done, consider whether it's a problem of unclear directions or a simple case of them taking a different tack to the same goal. Are they accomplishing what needs to be accomplished? Then let them try their own way and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
2. You Look for Others to Blame
When a mistake is made, do you try to put the blame on your employees? Or do you take responsibility and fix the problem? A bad boss is one who only takes the credit when things are going well and shifts the blame to the team when things go wrong. As a good boss, you must understand that you're responsible for both your team's successes and its failures.
3. You Don't Have a Vision
Whether you're the owner of a small business or the head of a department within a larger organization, you need to lead your team with a clear vision. Having a vision will make sure every decision you make is aligned with your company's goals and give your team confidence that every assignment is a sure step forward.
4. You Offer Little or No Guidance
If being too controlling can stifle your team, neglecting to offer enough guidance just ensures that you never see the results you were hoping for. Make sure your team knows the parameters and expectations of each project before they get started, and communicate clearly and quickly if expectations change on the fly.
5. You Take Credit for the Ideas and Successes of Others
A bad boss will often feel threatened by the accomplishments of their team, so they'll take credit for all the best ideas and successes the team has. A good boss, on the other hand, won't need to take credit. Instead, they will shine a light on the person responsible for the good work. In that way, the good boss can be recognized for a truly important quality: their leadership.
6. You're Vindictive
It's sometimes necessary to deal with problems on your team, but if your default response is to punish a team member in petty ways – such as by keeping them out of the loop or giving them poor assignments – that's a sure sign you're a bad boss. Instead of engaging in vindictive behavior, a good boss deals with problems fairly and then moves on. Being vindictive will only cause an issue to fester.
7. You Shame Your Team Members in Front of Their Peers
Except in rare cases, good bosses deal with mistakes and disciplinary issues one-on-one in private. Publicly shaming a team member isn't likely to get you the performance results you want. Instead, you'll see resentment and distrust among all of the members of your team.
Jodie Shaw is the chief marketing officer for The Alternative Board (TAB).