The Self-Awareness Guy

bad boss

The Worst Leadership Style in the World

The Worst Leadership Style in the World

There are a lot of bad leadership styles that wreak havoc in workplaces around the world, but the worst is:

The Tyrant

This awful leadership style is practiced by people who feel powerless inside, usually because of things they endured in their own families, and then feel they have to take it out on their employees. The Tyrant marches around giving orders, demanding complete obedience, and getting really angry when things don't go his or her way. They are not open to suggestions and only really care about bossing people around no matter how miserable it makes everyone. Their only concern is the bottom line, people don't matter and human emotions are a foreign concept. Tyrants don't listen and don't care what their employees have to say, they just care about looking "strong" and in command.

The Tyrant lacks empathy and has no idea what the consequences of his actions are. Strangely enough, even though we instinctively know that tyranny is not a positive thing, most workplaces are run by people like this or some variation thereof. We've somehow convinced ourselves that the best leadership model is where some "strong" person walks around barking orders and punishing people if they don't follow them. The common variation on this theme is the person that does these things but smiles once in a while.

We can do better than this, here's how:

  • Encourage leaders to become self-aware and emotionally intelligent, to understand why they feel, think, and act the way they do.
  • Have leaders work through their own personal issues before trying to lead others.
  • Provide training that builds empathy and compassion.
  • Teach leaders how to motivate people from within.
  • Promote workplaces where people come first instead of the bottom line.
  • Teach kind leadership, which means leaders who are able to motivate their employees through kindness instead of fear and control.
  • Commit to building workplaces where people are nice to one another.

None of these things is unachievable, it's just that we've designed our workplaces to revolve around some hurt person giving orders when there are a lot of much more positive things we can do instead. Contrary to popular belief, you can get a lot done without treating people poorly. What are your suggestions for getting rid of tyrants?



30 Bad Boss Characteristics

30 Bad Boss Characteristics

Here are thirty bad boss characteristics:

  1. They're always right.
  2. They're resistant to change.
  3. They lack emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
  4. They hurt others.
  5. They don't listen.
  6. Everything is about them.
  7. They put people down.
  8. They pit people against each other.
  9. They don't praise.
  10. They lie about or rationalize their behaviors.
  11. They rule from fear instead of kindness.
  12. They dominate meetings.
  13. They lead by telling people what to do instead of having them motivate themselves.
  14. They micromanage.
  15. They try to eliminate people they think are a threat.
  16. They love punishing people.
  17. They don't believe in being touch-feely.
  18. They say stuff like, "We've always done it this way."
  19. They create conflict wherever they go.
  20. They can't work as part of a team.
  21. They're very competitive.
  22. They make jokes at people's expense.
  23. They have unpleasant personalities.
  24. They make their staff feel uncomfortable or miserable.
  25. They lack empathy.
  26. They only look at the bottom line, people don't matter.
  27. They're inflexible.
  28. They're moody.
  29. They brag about being a good boss.
  30. There's high turnover in their department or the company.

Self-aware bosses will look at this list and be able to make adjustments so they aren't hurting others. The ones who don't understand what they're doing aren't a lost cause, it's always possible to build up their skills to move toward being positive bosses. To create enlightened, effective leaders we simply need to have the training in place to teach them how to be able to work out their own personal issues so they can interact effectively with others and be good bosses.



5 Tips to Stop Micromanaging and Be a Better Leader

5 Tips to Stop Micromanaging and Be a Better Leader

Do you allow your employees do their jobs independently or are you compelled to supervise everything they do? Have you ever heard someone say, "If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself," and agreed with them? Many thoughtful, experienced leaders genuinely believe that they must have to be involved in everything their employees do or it won't go well. We are conditioned from an early age and through much of our work experience to believe that people can't do things for themselves and that only we have the secret to doing things the right way.

This belief system leads to micromanaging, the act of needing to control task your employee is working on whether it's helpful, productive, appropriate, or not. At its most elemental level, micromanaging is the inability to let other people do their jobs. Why do so many leaders do this? Often it is simply because they don't have any other management tools.

There's nothing misguided or awful about micromanaging and it doesn't mean we're bad leaders if we practice it, there are just much more productive strategies to get results in the workplace. When leaders micromanage they promote workplaces that discourage independent thought, decision-making and action and emphasize dependence on the direction giver. Employees can be stopped in their tracks in an environment like this because they are not allowed or encouraged to do anything on their own. You can interrupt the cycle of micromanaging by doing some of the following practical things :

1. Encourage people to do their own work. Get out of the way and let your employees do their jobs without your supervision. This will build their independence and ability to think on their own. When you make it possible for people to work independently, it shows them that you really trust them and value their talents and contributions.

2. Give your employees the chance to demonstrate what they do well. When you understand what your employees do well, you are able to use their gifts to benefit the organization and make your life as a leader more enjoyable. Employees feel valued and important when they use their talents to move the organization forward.

3. Help people and provide your input only when requested. Many leaders feel they have to constantly impart their wisdom or share their expertise. This negates the fact that employees often know how to do things for themselves and don't need your help. Make yourself available and create a real open-door policy where people can bounce things off of you. Otherwise focus on your own job tasks.

4. Look at why you choose to micromanage. We all benefit from understanding the things that behaviors that help us and the ones we might shift a bit to be more effective. Micromanaging is frequently a symptom of an deep inner need to control situations coupled with anxiety when things feel out of control to us. Work on your own issues and you'll be less likely to impose them on others.

5. Believe in a micromanagement free workplace. What might you achieve if you weren't devoting so much time to worrying about what your employees are doing and constantly monitoring them? How might you refocus your energy on other pursuits that would benefit the organization?

Somewhere along the way, some leadership guru said that we have to be a "hands on" leader our organization will crumble. This philosophy does not allow employees to grow or enjoy the learning that comes from achieving things themselves. Genuine growth occurs when employees are encouraged to make decisions and learn from their experiences. As a leader, you get to decide how you lead which, in turn, affects how your workplace functions. Will you constantly micromanage your employees or will you set a leadership example that inspires them?


10 Things Bosses Do to Make Things More Difficult for Their Employees

10 Things Bosses Do to Make Things More Difficult for Their Employees

I've coached and trained many bosses over the years and I've frequently noticed that many of them do their best to lead well but don't truly understand the impact of their actions or how they might adjust their leadership approach to get better results. A large percentage lead in a way that reflects what they experienced in their families or picked up along the way from other reactive bosses. Here are ten things bosses do, mostly unconsciously, to make things more difficult for their employees.

1. Lack of Consistency

These bosses say one thing and do another, change the rules midstream and treat some employees differently from others. This creates a work atmosphere where employees don't know what to expect and are sometimes required to change their approaches midstream even when everything is going well.

2. Limited Self-Awareness

This type of boss talks a lot about how insightful and in touch with his leadership style she is but it's not reflected in what she does in the workplace. What you'll often observe is someone who routinely destroys things in her path but doesn't seem to have a clue that she's causing the chaos.

3. Losing Their Temper Unpredictably

They get angry at people or exasperated easily; sometimes over trivial or arbitrary events. This makes everyone's job more difficult because they have to avoid the boss' wrath instead of communicating and participating openly in the workplace.

4. Don't Explain Things Clearly

These bosses lack the ability to explain processes and procedures, which is really just a basic lack of understanding of how to communicate effectively. They expect everyone to understand their garbled communication style and get upset when employees don't. They rarely ask their employees if they're explaining clearly or if they understand.

5. Don't Apply the Same Rules to Themselves

They enforce different rules for different people. For example, they ask people to get to work on time but don't do it themselves. When bosses have more leeway or don't follow the same stringent standards that "regular" employees do, it sends an unambiguous message that some employees are more important than others.

6. Micromanage and Don't Delegate Effectively

This boss doesn't trust her employees to do their own work unattended. She feels she has to supervise every part of the operation even when it makes things run less smoothly. This person also has difficulty letting other people work independently because she doesn't want to let go of the power and control.

7. Don't Encourage Employees to Use Their Talents

These bosses are so wrapped up in their own needs and reacting to every event in the workplace that they fail to recognize that their employees have valuable talents that could make their workplace run even better. Instead, they label their employees and tell them to stick to their job descriptions.

8. Lack of Organization

These bosses are simply overwhelmed by their job and are hanging on for dear life. They make things more difficult for everyone by not prioritizing tasks, creating timelines and setting clear expectations. This leads to them constantly being in crisis mode trying to fix something they've overlooked.

9. Look for Ways to Trip People Up

These bosses don't celebrate the things their employees are doing well; they obsess on what's going wrong. They'll even go as far as setting people up for failure by asking them to do things that are outside their area of expertise or where they lack training and then say, "I told you so," or "It's not as easy as it looks."

10. Expect Employees to Prove Themselves

This type of boss believes that employees are constantly trying to take advantage of her and the organization and requires them to constantly prove their worth. She'll often double-check the work employees do "just to make sure" it's done correctly. She'll also say things like, "You're suspect until proven otherwise," or "Trust is earned."

Take a moment to think about whether you do any of these things and how your actions might affect the functioning of your workplace. If you recognize yourself in any of these examples you might find it helpful to try new ways of doing things to achieve better results. The goal isn't to make things more difficult but rather to make things easier for everyone in your workplace. What will you do to help your employees succeed?


20 Ways to Tell If Your Employees Hate You

20 Ways to Tell If Your Employees Hate You

Are you a leader who doesn't care whether your employees like you? Do you lead fearlessly but without any input or genuine support from your staff? Traditionally, we've been told that leaders are present to make sure things run well and to tell people what to do. Ever since we found out that people actually matter and that they're not machines there has been a concerted move by leaders worldwide to treat their employees well and help them be happier in the workplace. Yet this concept of leading in a way that actually benefits employees and helps everyone feel better is still elusive for those who remain stuck in the bossing-people-around worldview. Here are twenty ways to tell if your employees hate you.

  1. Everyone is fake nice to you.
  2. You can't get better performance from employees regardless of what you say or do.
  3. You only relate to a few people (or no one) on your staff.
  4. People talk behind your back but have trouble talking with you.
  5. There is low morale and motivation in your organization.
  6. Employees don't share information with you.
  7. People have told you they don't like you or you make them uncomfortable.
  8. You have frequent and/or ongoing conflicts with employees.
  9. High employee turnover or absenteeism.
  10. Low productivity and stagnant growth in skill level of your employees.
  11. You're not invited to outside work functions.
  12. You're not invited to functions at work.
  13. People look scared, overly serious or annoyed when you're around.
  14. You micromanage a lot and don't trust your employees to work independently.
  15. Nobody but you tells you what a good boss you are.
  16. HR keeps mentioning employee complaints about you.
  17. You keep justifying to your employees why you're so hard on them.
  18. You don't worry that you're doing anything wrong leadership-wise.
  19. You think of your employees as whiners or soft.
  20. You don't ask employees for ideas.

If you practice any of these behaviors you aren't some kind of evil person, it's just an opportunity to fine-tune your skills to get closer to your employees. Leadership is often much more about the atmosphere you create at work rather than all the tasks you complete. There are many very productive and driving leaders who have employees who only work for them because they have no other option. The positive news is that you can turn around this type of workplace dynamic by making small adjustments to your leadership approach such as listening more to your employees and giving them more autonomy. What will you do so your employees really like you?