Most of us have survived the soul-crushing experience of having a bad boss at least once in our lives, no? If you’re one of the few that hasn’t – there’s still time! It’s sort of a universal human experience. This blog even has a Bad Boss Hall of Fame where we’ve shared a few stories that have come our way. We like to share the bad with the good because there’s almost as much to be learned on the “what not to do” side of things as the “walk this way” side.
In reality, when we talk to HR managers and supervisors in the organizations we work with, we’re always impressed and heartened by how seriously folks take their jobs, how important fairness is, and how sincerely the vast majority of people strive to be better managers. In that spirit, we offer a few articles from experts that have impressed us in the “what not to do / what to do” genre. We’re summarizing the bullet points, but they are all pretty good pieces so it would be worth your time to check out each author’s full commentary.
Ten Things Bad Bosses Do – by Mark Price Perry at
1. Embarrassing employees in public.
2. Not following up on employee ideas.
3. Withholding praise.
4. Ignoring professional growth needs.
5. Demanding unrealistic rules of order.
6. Being vague and indirect.
7. Showing you don’t care.
8. Being all-knowing all of the time.
9. Ignoring individual differences.
10. Never say you’re sorry or admitting being wrong.
Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say– by Liz Ryan at Bloomberg Businessweek Management
1. If you don’t want this job, I’ll find someone who does.
2. I don’t pay you to think.
3. I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.
4. I’ll take it under advisement.
5. Who gave you permission to do that?
6. Drop everything and DO THIS NOW!
7. Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.
8. Sounds like a personal problem to me.
9. I have some feedback for you … and everyone here feels the same way.
10. In these times, you’re lucky to have a job at all.
10 Things That Good Bosses Do by Steve Tobak at CBS MoneyWatch
1. Pay people what they’re worth, not what you can get away with.
2. Take the time to share your experiences and insights.
3. Tell it to employees straight, even when it’s bad news.
4. Manage up … effectively.
5. Take the heat and share the praise.
6. Delegate responsibility, not tasks.
7. Encourage employees to hone their natural abilities and challenge them to overcome their issues.
8. Build team spirit.
9. Treat employees the way they deserve to be treated.
10. Inspire your people.
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