Is your thought “I’m not a bad boss, I don’t benefit from this”? About 50% of the “bad boss” case, it is really not about bad boss! Mental structure differences just make us feel uncomfortable with the “wrong” kind of personality. Only after you look at the bad boss features through your personality, you can see, what is the real situation.
Last week I talked about some of the features of bad boss. And you learnt what you can do if you have some of such behaviour. Now we will look at the remaining 3 elements, which are a bit more on the managerial side. As said last week, leadership and management are dancing hand in hand, if one fails, the other will also look bad. Is your boss a control freak? Or is it you? Micromanaging everything to the last detail. This is overbearing and paralysing because he / she wants control every decision. This gives the team clear message “I don’t trusts the team and hence cannot delegate”. There is no room for group discussion or input. If you are this kind of leader, creativity or learning something new will be absent. Is your motto: take your orders and report back. If it is you, think about the following; A) micromanaging puts you under constant stress with no recovery = you will end up with health problems in some years, B) when people are inspired, their productivity can be twice of those who are just satisfied (HBR study). Inspiration is only present, when people have a say and can create something through their own thinking.
There is lack of communication (as discussed in the previous article). And then there is being secretive. These two are different domains. Bad communication is easy to see. Being secretive is about trying to maintain excessive power over other people through withholding information. Do you have you all the information you need? If not, be aware! Literature says that this is one of the most predictive traits of people with bad leadership. Managing operations through creating a fear climate is a sign, which can be the outcome of multiple elements. This leaves people confused, disengaged and in fear. If you are doing this, the question is “why”? You need to get to the root cause. So, write down your answer, overline it and dig deeper. Repeat for 4 times, to make sure that you really get to the root cause. Be willing and ready to accept, that the root cause might be fear, personality challenge or something pretty surprising!
My, myself and I, the 3 most important people. A bad leader only looks after him/her self. This kind of leaders are like a thunder storm. Come in with force, mess everything up and leave. When you are looking for a new organisation, check what is the track record of the leaders. A warning sign is mostly less than 2 years in one place and then someone else is needed to fix, even heal, the organisation. Bad leaders aren’t concerned with aligning team goals to organizational objectives or mission. They care about their individual results and annual bonus. You cannot really get this kind of people to see what they are doing to the organisation. Because they couldn’t care less. You have two choices, build your future somewhere else or be patient as probably in less than 2 years the person will move on. If it is you, then just ask yourself; how much more successful you could be, if you would get people to really support you? Not just be pissed off with you.
Now we’ve covered the 7 elements of bad leadership. The big question is, “if I feel that I have a bad boss, is it true or are we just so very different?”. It is good to remember, that leaders have different personality than what is the average of people! Are you able to accept and even use that knowledge to make your life better? What can you do, some thoughts of that next!
The bad leadership was able to live longer in the past years. As the education level and the demands of jobs increase, there is less room for bad leadership. People are leaving leaders, not companies. There is always opportunities for good people, like you! If you identified that you have some of the negative features in your leadership, then you have a chance. Identifying and accepting that one could be better is the starting point. Most of the great leaders have had a lesson or two. In USA a business owner / leader who has failed is seen as someone who really can make it! Successful leaders were not born like that, they learnt what it took to be a great leader.
Learning to be a great leader starts with self reflection. Answer the following questions honestly; A) do you want to be successful, B) are you willing to accept that there can be better approaches and C) are you willing to do the job to get to the success you want? We cannot change what we are, but we can lead our behaviour. As we change our behaviour, we build new skills and eventually that behaviour becomes a natural, authentic part of us.
Matti Alahuhta, the man who took Kone plc through the years of recession with great success has said: as a new M. Sc. I believed in engineering. After some years I learnt through some more experienced leaders, that people skills are the profit maker, so I decided to learn those. He learnt and he succeeded.
Learning about people skills, the soft stuff which really make the bottom line, is possible for every one. There is the hard way, through trial and error, and there is the fast track. I have helped, as it is my mission to help, people to learn about the leadership personality. As you learn where you are now, what your true strengths are, then you can build up your development program and reach exceptional results.
Send me an email or call me, I am more than happy to tell you more about how to build your success! Call +358 400 428 950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor