In the last couple of weeks, I have witnessed bad boss behavior with incredible frequency. When businesses fail to properly train and develop management, they create a cascade of bad habits passed along to the next level down, and then the next level, and so on. Good management skills are not an innate skill; they must be developed.
Consider reminding or retraining these three skills I frequently see lacking:
Mutual respect – The bad boss will publicly question and ridicule employees in front of other employees or customers. When this happens, production, commitment and initiative will decline, while frustration, negative reactions, and anger will increase. The more social media takes over our communications, the more emotionally sensitive we become, especially the younger people who are being molded by social media.
Demonstrating mutual respect not only creates a positive interaction with the employee, but it sets the tone and trains others to demonstrate the same respectful behavior.
Keep your distance – It’s good to have a positive relationship with your employees, but the bad boss loses the understanding of when leadership crosses the line to friendship. Being friends with those you manage will create tougher decision making and actually can cause the manager to lose perspective. As parents become blind to the mistakes or bad habits of their children, the same blindness will happen when the manager tries to manage those he or she values as personal friends.
Lead by example — The bad boss tries to set higher expectations than she personally will live up to. It’s very difficult to be respected as a manager when you are disappointed in a person’s lack of follow up and yet you are not following through on your own commitments. Expect cool behavior when dealing with upset customers? How are you demonstrating your skills when dealing with an employee who has you upset?
You are the lid. The least you demonstrate is typically the most you will be able to expect from your employees. Where are you setting the bar? Let your actions speak louder than your words.