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Are You a Bad Boss? 5 Signs to Watch Out For

Topics: Career Advice
bad boss

When your employees work with drive, passion and great motivation, they are engaged. When they don’t, however, they are “disengaged.” According to research from Gallup, disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion in lost productivity each year. Even worse, the average employee engagement rate in the U.S. is about 32 percent — meaning that a whopping 68 percent of employees in the U.S. are disengaged.

While there are many reasons for employees being disengaged, perhaps the number one reason is the boss under which an employee works. If you are a bad boss, your employees are sure to be disengaged. Below are five signs to watch out for.

1. Not showing empathy for employees

The number one red flag that indicates that you’re a bad boss is lack of empathy toward employees. If you are just motivated by the numbers, and if your only concern is that employees give you results, no matter their physical, mental and emotional state in the process of doing so, you are a bad boss.

Not showing empathy toward employees can have consequences. Tesla recently had to deal with an employee crisis: sentiment among some of their factory employees was that workers were just another number. In a particular instance, when employees complained to manager about working through pain, the manager responded, “We all hurt. You can’t man up?” Obviously, the workers weren’t impressed.

If you empathize with employees, research shows that they will happily put in more hours to ensure that your work gets done.

2. Not setting expectations but punishing employees for failing to meet them

When you don’t communicate expectations clearly enough, and then express disappointment in employees who haven’t met your imaginary goals, you are certainly a bad boss.

Doing this makes it impossible to please you, since employees don’t know what to expect. Instead, it makes employees stop trying to make any effort; they don’t know what you want, anyway, and they will be punished regardless, so it isn’t worth trying!

3. Publicly humiliating and embarrassing employees

This is one of the key traits of a bad boss, and it can have long-lasting negative impact. Most bosses do this either because they can’t control the impulse to instantly reprimand an employee they feel did wrong, or because they want to send a message to other employees to behave.

Unfortunately, publicly humiliating and embarrassing your employees indeed does send a message: that you couldn’t care less about your employees.

4. Micromanaging to the core

While you might not think micromanaging is such a bad thing, your employees certainly do not share the same opinion.

Micromanaging pretty much everything your employees do and insisting they do everything your way sends the wrong message: that you don’t trust them, that you are superior to them and that they don’t matter. Often, it doesn’t end well; even if they feel that certain things could be done to make work better, they simply keep quiet.

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5. Not EVER praising or acknowledging their effort

While this is a bit of a gray area, it’s still something to watch out for.

If you find it difficult to praise or acknowledge your employees, you might just be teetering on the edge of being a bad boss. However, make them do all the work and take all the credit and you’re just beyond redemption!

Data show that 60 percent of employees want their bosses to praise their work more frequently. In turn, they will be willing to put in even more effort.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you realized that you’re part of the problem on your team? Tell us what you’re doing to fix the situation. We want to hear from you. Talk to us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

John Stevens
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