LIFE

How To Not Be A Horrible Boss

The first step is actually listening to your employees.

27/05/2016 1:20 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Sadly, horrible bosses exist in every industry.

Most of us have experienced, or endured, a horrible boss. He/she might have had anger issues and delighted in yelling at employees until his voice was hoarse or non-existent. Or he might have picked on just one or two employees, making their lives hell until they resigned.

Or perhaps he had his own brand of horrible and was completely unaware that his staff disliked, or feared him.

Natasha Hawker from Employee Matters told The Huffington Post Australia she still remembers her own experience with a horrible boss.

"It began with the job interview when he asked me what my father does for a living. When I told him my father was a merchant banker, he said, 'Well you're better than the usual trash that comes in here.' Over time, there was a lot of swearing and vicious attacks," Hawker said.

"Sadly, this happens in many businesses but because the boss is so good at his or her job, they are untouchable. People are terrified of them. They do exist in a variety of industries but many of them are too precious to the organisation to let them go. So it's the employees who leave when they can't handle working under a nasty boss any longer."

We all have four invisible muscles -- Awareness, Intention, Interest and Attention. If someone isn't intentional about being aware of the way they are perceived by others this can happen easily. It can also happen if they are not interested, and don't give it any attention.

According to recruiter and business owner Mike Irving there are many ways a boss can be horrible.

"It really depends on your perception. Some of the biggest issues are micro-managing and, while doing so, taking away the choice the employee has. A horrible boss is often very controlling and suppressive and therefore doesn't give permission to be creative and think, or make decisions for yourself. Or they don't listen and therefore are poor at communication. That is the key skill involved in getting engagement from your team," Irving said.

Irving said it's also possible that some bosses truly have no idea they are disliked or feared.

"We all have four invisible muscles -- Awareness, Intention, Interest and Attention. If someone isn't intentional about being aware of the way they are perceived by others this can happen easily. It can also happen if they are not interested, and don't give it any attention."

Tony Hutchings
Some horrible bosses never lose their jobs because they are valued by the company.

Hawker said it's important to remember most people don't leave businesses, they generally leave leaders.

"If you're a business owner and you're concerned that your employees are resigning, it might be time to hire an independent company to engage a survey of your employees --one that they can fill out anonymously and feel safe in doing so," Hawker said.

"If you are a victim of a horrible boss, there are legal protections in place, such as equal opportunity laws, but it takes a level of bravery and strength to take action. Most people just leave quietly."

If you are a boss and you'd like to improve your reputation in the office, Irving suggests you become interested in your team and support them to grow and flourish.

"Be willing to look at your own behaviour, and don't be foolish enough to think you have all the right answers yourself. And don't try to just improve your reputation, be real about it. Reputation is only the result of actions. Change your actions instead of trying to change your reputation," Irving said.

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