Ever wondered if there was a class that some leaders took on how to be a bad boss? Well, here is my list of seven habits that can totally disengage the people that work for you:
1. Make everything urgent. Nothing irks people more than a supervisor who lacks the ability to prioritize. When every assignment is rushed and last minute, it’s clear that there was no planning. Occasionally, this can be overlooked but when it becomes routine you simply lose credibility as a leader.
2. Underutilize skills and talents within the team. No one wants to be overworked and underpaid. However, being underutilized is just as frustrating. Wasted talent is bad for the organization and bad for moral. If you don’t know the strengths of each person on your team, it’s time to learn and leverage them.
3. Assign the same task to multiple people to see who does it best. Your employees deserve respect and wasting their time will not win you friends or help you to influence people. This tactic may have given you options to choose from or guaranteed at least one result but when an employee knows that you are wasting their time, they will eventually stop making any effort.
4. Take credit for the work of others when its recognized as good. When your employees do well, it’s a reflection on you anyway. If you’re going to take credit for the good stuff, you better be ready to take the blame when things go wrong too. Every one has an ego and a good boss is one who develops and recognizes the contributions of their team.
5. Assign as many tasks as possible and hope that someone will need what your teams produces. There should be no shortage of real work with the lean organizations that we have now. That’s why creating work unnecessarily is just another way to waste someone’s time. Even inexperienced employees learn best by having real work to do.
6. Be vague and general in your guidance so employees can guess what you want. We used to call this the “bring me a rock” approach because more likely than not you will bring the wrong rock. Instead, think through the purpose of each task and why it’s important to the overall objectives of the team before delegating. This will help employees understand the bigger picture and build commitment.
7. Spend as much time as possible away from the office so your team can learn to be self-directed. The absentee boss is delightful. Maybe it’s a sign of trust that the team is capable to get things done. However, what does that say about the value of the leaders position. If a member of your team hasn’t had a one-on-one with you in the last month, you can bet their priorities are different from yours.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen each of these habits impact the effectiveness of a team and have a very negative impact on employee engagement. I’m hoping that by sharing this from an employee perspective, it will help those who want to be effective team leaders. If you recognize habits of your own, just no that it is never too late to learn new ones.