Traits of a Lousy Boss

922659682Last week’s Struming discussed GEICO’s use of their “best of” commercials which inspired this week’s “best of” Struming. Since Strumings is closing in on its 10th anniversary seemed like a good time to replay the classics. In this case– 6 Traits of a Lousy Boss. It first appeared a year ago and was the individually most read and clicked Struming ever in my monthly eblast (particularly from ex-employees at former ad agencies I ran!). They never got to see the new “mellow” Lonny of 2019. The post is universal and timeless. And obviously hit hot buttons for many folk.

Here goes…..

I suspect anyone who has been in business for a while could easily write this article. Those with even a few grey hairs probably have already had their share of good bosses and bad ones. Alas, probably more of the latter than the former.

I’ve heard people say, “When I am the boss, I won’t make the same mistakes”. Sometimes that’s true. Unfortunately, most often it is not. I know earlier my career that the transition to being a leader from a doer wasn’t an easy one. It takes wisdom, fairness, leadership and self-confidence. It takes well developed listening skills. It also takes someone willing to make hard decisions, even unpopular ones, that are both fair and reasonable. It’s far easier to be a lousy boss.

So, what are the characteristics of a lousy boss, a boss from hell?

1. Lack of trust

While trust needs to be earned (in both directions), lousy bosses do not trust anyone and as a result create a culture of backstabbing.

2. No communication

With some bosses all key information is held close to the vest. They constantly play “guess what I already know, but won’t tell you”.

3. Unfair pay among workers and play favorites

They create a dramatic inequity where those who “kiss up” get paid far more. There will always be some inequity in pay among staffers at a point in time, but wise bosses make sure inequity is short lived, if at all.

4. They hire poorly

They hire people who are similarly untrustworthy, bad people and are sycophants.

5. Take credit for work of others

They fail to give recognition to those who deserve it and worse yet, take credit for the work to try to look good to others. They don’t respect others and abuse junior workers.

6. Screamers

Everyone can have a bad day, but the constant screamer demeans and demoralizes.

So, what should you do if you have a bad boss? That’s a tough one. Several strategies:

1. Leave the company

2. Confront your boss and artfully tell them you feel mistreated

3. Suck it up and hopefully outlive the relationship.

4. Scream at them “I won’t take your f—in’ sh-t anymore” (I did this once and survived it, but it’s not the recommended strategy)

There’s no right answer, but I would recommend taking a longer view if you can. Most importantly, if you are a boss, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a lousy boss”? If so, it’s not too late to change your behavior. Start today. Good luck.

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