25 signs you’re a horrible boss

- December 11, 2013 2 MIN READ

Being the boss of a small business means you have better relationships with your employees, right? Not so fast. Check your traits against this list to see whether you’re a lousy leader.

I work in a utopian workplace. A place where my colleagues are helpful, friendly and supportive, and challenges are solved through open discussion. People are valued and appreciated; communication is proactive and honest. The boss genuinely cares that everyone loves their job.

It’s the same for all workplaces, right? After all, we all know that’s how you get the most from your team and really grow a business.

Experience has shown me that unfortunately this is not the case. More commonly, the workplace and the boss who runs it are not so ideal. So, in an effort to make horrible bosses aware of their failings and hopefully instigate change towards a more utopian environment for small businesses, I have identified 25 things bad bosses do.

You might classify as one if you:

  1. Keep all future plans for your team and the business to yourself.
  2. Take all the glory, never praising, acknowledging, thanking or recognising your team.
  3. Think that salary is the only thing that matters to them; they should be thankful to work for you!
  4. Get their pays wrong, pay late or don’t pay extras like superannuation.
  5. Only employ them in ways that suit you, like casual or contract. Then change their hours at short notice.
  6. Forget their names, their birthdays, their partner’s name and any other detail that is important to them.
  7. Pay team members different amounts for the same work and experience.
  8. Promote someone and add responsibilities, but keep their pay the same.
  9. Give feedback to an employee about their work once a year rather than regularly.
  10. Give inadequate equipment support and resources.
  11. Offer no training, mentoring, coaching or support.
  12. Overwork them.
  13. Use fear to motivate them.
  14. Play favourites with some team members and not others.
  15. Say one thing and do another.
  16. Act like a prima donna, making everything about you, not them.
  17. Force them to give their job priority over everything else in their life.
  18. Give negative feedback in front of everyone else.
  19. Never roll up your sleeves to help out.
  20. Change your mind all of the time about expectations, deadlines and performance indicators.
  21. Exclude employees from all decisions.
  22. Communicate poorly or not at all.
  23. Think your employees are all expendable, that you can replace any or all of them.
  24. Don’t recognise their knowledge is valuable to your business.
  25. Keep under-performing and culture-polluting team members in their jobs, especially without any form of performance management.

Do the opposite of each of these things, and you’re on track to becoming a much better boss.

Can you recognise your current or past boss – or even yourself – in the above list? What are the key characteristics of good bosses?

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"