Everyone has had a bad boss – including HR professionals – and while it's one of the worst work experiences, you can turn it around into a positive by letting it inform how you lead others.
That’s the message from blogger and leadership expert Dan McCarthy, the Director of Executive Development Programs at the Paul College of Business and Economics, the University of New Hampshire.
“I get a lot of emails from readers telling me about their horrible bosses and asking for advice on how to fix them,” he said. “Unfortunately, the advice and coaching that I’ve been offering for over 20 years is for managers that want to become better leaders. There’s not a lot you can do to fix a bad boss that isn’t interested in improving."
However, there are lessons to learn from those bad behaviours.
Five "what not to do" lessons from terrible leaders:
1. The boss who never comes out of his/her office
: the importance of being visible, communicating, connecting with your employees, and having regular one on one and team meetings.
2. The boss who plays obvious favorites
: the importance knowing how to objectively assess performance, and basing rewards and recognition, assignments, and promotions on actual merit, not who you like best.
3. The boss that never accepts responsibility for failure or mistakes
: the importance of being accountable, accepting blame, not pointing fingers, and being a problem solver.
4. The boss who talked a good game but couldn’t execute
: the importance of paying attention to the details, planning, change management
, project management, forecasting, and not overpromising.
5. The unethical boss:
the importance of always doing the right thing, even when no one’s looking. Instead of asking “can I get away with it”, or “who’s going to know”, asking “would I be comfortable if my decision ended up published in the local/company newspaper”?
Tell us about the worst boss you've ever had. What lessons could you learn from them?