Traits To Look For In The Worst Bosses


By Ryan Velez

Just about anyone in the work world has some horrible boss stories to share, but have you ever taken the time to figure out what the root of their issues are? If you’re an employee, The Hartford has shared some specific traits to look out for, and if you find yourself in the driver’s seat, here are some things to avoid when you are managing other employees.

For one thing, even if you do everything right, poor communication can sink your efforts to establish best practice among your employees. “The big differentiator of small business success is communication,” says Chester Elton, founder of New Jersey based management consultant The Culture Works and author of What Motivates Me and All In. This can lead to issues with getting employees to buy into your plans and overall morale issues. On the other hand, “When a boss listens thoughtfully and gives employees permission to speak the truth and be supportive to one another, it is a beautiful thing,” says Barbara Chan, executive coach and certified management consultant of Barbara Chan Consulting Group. The best thing you can do is start by clearly establishing your goals and expectations, but be willing to put your ego aside when the time comes to listen to feedback.

Part of the reason why bosses are unwilling to communicate properly comes from a sense of insecurity, one of the last things you want in a boss. “Great leaders are invested in finding people smarter than them,” says Jane Hundley, an organizational psychologist and founder of Impact Management, Inc., an executive consulting firm. “Bad leaders don’t hire anyone who threatens them,” she adds. Any boss needs to be able to find and bring on people who have the skills and knowledge to complement their own. Try to keep competition out of your mind and be ready to seek out different people with the best skills to succeed.

You’ve brought on the best people, and they’ve executed your plans to the letter. But did you acknowledge their success? Whether it’s a lack of empathy or just poor management, often times accomplishments get missed in favor of harping on employees and what they did wrong. This gives little motivation other than fear to do things right, and an employee can easily burn out that way. As a result, a little time to congratulate means a lot, as does coaching for areas of improvement.