Good leadership is often missing from the workplace these days, and it’s one of the main reasons for employee unhappiness. To paraphrase and repurpose Tolstoy’s famous opening of Anna Karenina, we could say those good bosses are all alike, but each lousy boss is terrible in their way. In other words, there are key attributes and traits of a good boss and leader — but when those are missing, you get a terrible boss who could exhibit any number and combination of negative leadership traits.

While employees may feel like they’re wrong for blaming their unhappiness on the boss, the fact remains that a bad boss can destroy good staff. Almost every employee has been in this situation. Sadly, most bosses have also been in this situation, and this is where they probably learned the traits of being a bad boss.

Examples of Bad Bosses

There are particular things that bad bosses will do, often completely unaware of how they affect the entire organization. The common thread identified in these behaviors is not caring sufficiently about employees. A bad boss might:

  • Micro-manage the employees;
  • Care more about the profit than the people working for them;
  • Never stop to celebrate success and give their employees a break;
  • Exchange true leadership for commanding and controlling employees;
  • Ignore feedback from employees and discourage suggestions and recommendations;
  • Never advocate for their employees;
  • Fail to let employees have any real authority for carrying out their tasks;
  • Take credit for the excellent work done by an employee.

Whichever of these behaviors a boss exhibits on a regular basis, it can destroy an employee’s motivation and engagement, which is when their work experience turns into hell.

Lack of Motivation and Engagement

When an employee’s wish to develop and improve, and to do their best in their every day work is beaten to dust by a lousy boss, both engagement and motivation go down. A high employee turnover rate is a dead giveaway of a bad boss. People get into a company, they quickly see how poorly it’s managed, and they leave as fast as they can. It doesn’t matter how great the products or services they’re selling are, or how high the salary is. When weekend and payday is all an employee has to look forward to, coupled with the stress and pressure of most workplaces nowadays, it’s no wonder why their performance drops and their wish to leave overpowers the monetary benefits.

Keeping Employees

For a lousy boss, the well-being of employees is not a priority. If they fail to do their tasks well and as told to, if their performance suffers, they can hire someone else instead. However, that’s what leads to the constant training of new employees along with under-performing adjustment periods. It creates a circle of bad practices that are hard to break and keeps employees firmly on the path towards leaving sooner rather than later.

A good boss and a competent leader will understand that the people working in their company are people first and employees second. Their expertise can’t shine through if they don’t feel valued and motivated enough to show it. For employees to stay, their leader must take care of them.

Being a good boss has immense value for the enterprise. Help your employees feel more motivated to give you their best work by managing them and your organization correctly. Delegate work, and appreciate their effort and initiative instead of stifling their creativity. By learning how to be a good boss, and following the five requirements of effective managers, you can ensure that your best employees will feel fulfilled enough by their work to stay in your company. 

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