Are people seeing you as a bad boss? Are you having a bad boss? What really makes a bad boss? 3 very big questions to look at. Clearly understanding the characteristics of a person exhibiting bad leadership is important. Here are seven to raise your awareness. I will give you some insight on those, and some answers on what to do. The first article (there is another coming next week) is on personality. The second is more on management.
No time for proper face-to-face communication? Did you know, that plain words have only 7 % of the power of full presence face to face discussion? In digital world, where apps like Slack, Whatsapp, email, and texting are utilized for work productivity, it is so easy to think “I’m so busy, I don’t have time for unfocused talks”. That is bad leaders, hiding behind tech and solely manage through digital. Are you doing that? A problem you could have solved in two minutes in person now takes multiple emails / chats taking hours or even days, as people try to interpret what did you really intend to say. You are actually spending more time, even you think you are efficient. If it is your boss, who is doing this, you might use the value approach to change his/her behaviour. Value approach is putting the customer in the hot spot. Making it visible to you boss, how 2 minutes fast face to face talk will improve customer satisfaction and overall success.
We love charismatic people. Charisma is no synonym for good leadership. If you are charismatic leader, you must have a mentor / coach / team which helps you to see if peoples admiration of you is clouding your real behaviour. Otherwise your charisma will later backfire. Some of the most successful leaders as well as the most horrifying leaders in the world had great charisma. The professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic points out that charisma, if combined with narcissism and psychopathy, is a lethal combination. If this is your boss, there is only one solution. Leave before you get hurt. Research has also shown, that when followers get more information on a leader, the importance of charisma declines.
Leading people is always about communication. If you can’t clearly communicate, your great ideas will never get support. People need to have an idea what is really going on. If no one knows the real truth of the current situation or what the future holds, they are confused, in fear and anxiety. Which has a huge negative impact on your organisations productivity. There is a way to improve communication. It is coaching way of working. You can use that to lead your boss. You can improve you communication and peoples engagement and commitment through coaching approach. If you want to learn more about that, send me a note, I will give you further information.
“once I thought I was wrong, but then I realised I was mistaken”, a joke but horrible when the leader sees him/fer like that. Bad leaders never admit/see that they are wrong. If you’re always said to be wrong and you know are not, ask yourself why you want to work for this boss? It is not only about the boss, it is about your health. And the well being of your family. A bad leader has a hard time taking blame or ownership for things gone bad and will never admit to having made a mistake. He’s focus is in preserving his reputation and saving face. If you find yourself having this behaviour, ask yourself “why”? Could it just be, that you have had a bad role model? That someone taught you not to show your vulnerability? Actually, when you show that you need the feedback and help from your people, you will get it. And your team will be more productive.
Leadership is not just about actions. It is really about the culture. There are multiple leadership styles (6) and they present different culture. If you are new in the organisation, or planning to go to a new organisation, study what is their culture. Way too often someone is seen as a bad leader, where the situation really is that there is a conflict of culture, the leader carries one culture with him/her, the organisation has evolved under some other type of culture. The global example of this is what happened to GE as Jack Welch retired. The new CEO had a totally different leadership style, imported a totally different culture. One end results, stock value went down 60% in a few years.
If you feel that you have a bad boss, there are a few questions to help you evaluate the situation. 1. is it because your boss is incompetent, too narcissistic / psychopathic (and how do you know that)? 2. is it because there is a major difference in cultural approach? 3. is it the outcome of “everyone” saying so because some thought leader has implemented that thinking in the organisation? What if it is you, whom people see as a bad leader?
As you know the real situation, then you can take the proper action. There are leaders, from who you just need to walk away. There are leaders, whom you can help to become better. Helping them to become better is actually improving your success and your career.
There is a oversized population of narcissistic / psychopathic people in leadership position. Those two words that describe personality, carry a negative value, but there is a good level for both of those. You need to have some, in order to be successful leader. If you have too much, you will leave a trail or ruins behind you. If you are high on those, it is hard to see that. Just like it is hard for people with very high empathy, to see how different they are from the majority of people. To learn where you are, collect feedback. What do people say about your behaviour? Then get a coach to help you to mitigate the negative impacts of the features that did put you on leader trail in the first place!
Leadership and management are dancing hand in hand, if one fails, the other will also look bad. As they impact each others, as a leader you need to keep in mind that failing in one is failing in big picture! If you want to check you status, to take steps to succeed, our mission is to make people better leaders. Lets talk right away!
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor