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Seven Bad-Boss Behaviors to Avoid

By August 15, 2011December 21st, 2015No Comments

Yelling at an employee

Today’s guest post comes to us from Marlene Chism,  a professional speaker, trainer and the author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011). 

Strong workplace relationships among leaders and their employees are vital to a healthy organization. Gallup found that no single factor more clearly predicts the productivity of an employee than his relationship with his direct supervisor. The ability to build solid workplace relationships and effectively communicate in a positive manner is the core of good management. Here are seven bad-boss behaviors that managers, owners and bosses might have that negatively impact workplace relationships. I’ll also discuss ways that leaders can improve upon these behaviors to strengthen their relationships with employees.

1. Multi-tasking
2. Interrupting
3. Eye-Rolling
4. Yelling
5. Justifying mistakes
6. Judging
7. Ignoring

Multi-tasking.  When it comes to leading, one of the most challenging behavioral changes is to be present to the person in front of you. If you are shuffling papers or on your Blackberry when an employee is talking to you, you inadvertently give the message that he or she is not important. In addition, chances are you’ll drop a ball or miss something important because of being pre-occupied. Scientists now have proven that you can’t really multi-task anyway. What you are really doing is shifting attention back and forth which actually hurts your productivity. Focus on what is in front of you especially if what is in front of you is a person.

Interrupting Silence is difficult. In this fast paced world, especially if you happen to be a fast talker, waiting for someone to finish a sentence can feel quite painful. When you interrupt you are giving a message that you are impatient. If you don’t have the time, say so, and re-schedule with the person who can’t spit it out fast enough. Taking the time to listen to your employees with your complete attention makes them feel valued and appreciated and will go a long way toward strengthening workplace relationships.

Eye-Rolling This is a complete no-no when it comes to managing and leading others. Eye-rolling is a form of disrespect. The message you give is that you don’t respect the other person and you come off as superior or snobbish.

Yelling Managers who resort to raising their voices are showing their employees that they have low levels of self-control. It’s true some of us are more prone to being hotwired, but this is no excuse for not working on this problem. I often say that you don’t have an anger problem; you have a self-control problem, or a self-awareness problem. Hold a higher standard for yourself and lead by example by having high regard for your employees and co-workers.

Justifying Mistakes Leaders have to set the example. Any leader who blames an employee for mistakes or for bad behavior is playing the victim role on the Karpman drama triangle. Step up and take charge. If one of your employees is driving you crazy, you have some work to do, in the form of discipline or a difficult conversation. You have a higher rank so you have to play a higher game.

Judging Everyone has good reason for why they do what they do. Before you try “shame” tactics, get curious. Ask good questions and get into the mindset of the employee who made a mistake or did something wrong; then you can be the judge of the next appropriate step.

Ignoring You probably don’t mean to do it, but it’s a common habit of busy leaders: They ignore their employees. Nothing hinders workplace relationships more than when a leaders makes you feel ignored and unimportant. Yes, you are pre-occupied and have a million things on your plate. You are results-driven, but it only takes a moment to acknowledge people when you walk in the door and this new habit will keep the drama and storytelling at a minimum. These behaviors can ultimately derail even the best employee-leader workplace relationships. Fortunately, they are easy to fix and can build a more loyal and engaged workforce for any leader.

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