A company lives or dies by the quality of the leaders who run it.
And if you’ve ever had a terrible boss, you probably know how it can affect your life: Stress. Bad health. Job insecurity. Sleepless nights. In fact, a bad boss can be just as bad for your health as a pack-a-day smoking habit.
Research from the American Psychological Association tells us that 75% of American workers think their boss is the most stressful part of their job. Even more surprising? 60% of US workers say they would rather have a new boss than a pay raise!
On the other hand, a GREAT boss can make your work life fulfilling, rewarding and motivating.
Why would anyone keep working for bad bosses? Sometimes it’s company loyalty. Sometimes it’s “Stockholm Syndrome,” the psychological phenomenon in which hostages develop positive feelings for their captors. Psychologically, we know that the longer a person works for an abusive boss, the harder it becomes to leave. This takes more and more of a toll on the employee’s sanity and health.
Just in case you’re not sure where your boss falls on the scale, we’ve put together a list of the qualities that make a bad boss and a good boss. Read on, and then you can honestly evaluate where you stand at your company (and whether or not it’s time to leave).
If the “bad boss” descriptions sound like the situation you’re in, don’t panic. You’re (sadly) in the majority.
But if you aren’t able to make changes in your workplace by talking to your boss about the problems, you’ll probably need to get a new job. And that’s never easy. Take it one day at a time, and don’t do anything rash—the last thing you should do is quit your current job without having another one lined up!
But start looking, and hopefully soon you’ll find yourself with a career where you are valued for your contributions, where you are encouraged to grow professionally and personally, and where you get the respect that you deserve.
Bad bosses hire to fill a position instead of hiring the right person for the job.
Good bosses build good teams. A great leader builds an internal culture and attracts the right people to the shared mission.
Bad bosses are bullies. Sometimes feedback about your job performance is necessary. But constructive criticism is one thing, and blame is another. Some bosses seem to love insulting the people under them.
Good bosses take feedback seriously but don’t use it as an opportunity to make others feel bad. They always encourage employees with praise while pointing out areas where there is room for improvement.
Bad bosses have temper tantrums. Sure, everyone has a bad day and “blows up” from time to time. But if your supervisor acts like a toddler more often than he/she acts like a leader, it may be time for you to move on.
Good bosses know that tantrums set a negative emotional tone for the entire workplace. Instead, they are in control, both of themselves and of the issues facing the team. They handle situations with grace and cool composure–not with an emotional explosion.
Bad bosses have unreasonable expectations. As a human being with a balanced life, your work isn’t everything. You also have family obligations and hobbies outside of the office. Some bosses, unfortunately, want you to spend every waking moment on your job. A good boss knows that your time away from work lets you recharge, ultimately making your work time better.
Bad bosses don’t lead by example. It’s hard to feel inspired and take your job seriously when your supervisor doesn’t do the same. A good boss will show enthusiasm and follow the same rules he/she makes for others.
Bad bosses want you to meet your objectives but they don’t care if you have the tools to do it properly. Need more money? Need support from another department? You’re out of luck.
Good bosses empower their employees with the resources they need to solve big issues with big ideas instead of quick fixes and “busy work.”
Bad bosses are very “by the book,” not wanting you to do more than be a robot. Good bosses, on the other hand, invite creative thinking.
Bad bosses want you to “shut up and do your job.” Good bosses create a relaxed environment where everyone is free to voice their concerns and frustrations. This “venting” can improve team performance by letting everyone feel empowered to create change.
Bad bosses hold you back. Good bosses encourage career growth–even if it means you have to leave the company. Learning and growing is part of a healthy career path. Great bosses know this. They aren’t going to hold you in one place for years and years.
Bad bosses hold unproductive meetings. Good bosses run effective and efficient meetings. Your time is valuable, and a good leader knows that a meeting without objective is a waste of time and resources.
Bad bosses don’t care about your feelings. Good bosses seek to help employees gain deep personal satisfaction from their daily responsibilities. They want you to feel inspired and excited to come to work and perform well every day.