Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR

Can you help your “bad” boss?

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WOW! Monday’s blog created much reaction.  One of the most interesting comments was “He is so bad, he doesn’t even know he is a bad boss”.  It is very easy to be critical of our leaders.  This comment made me think of how sometimes it may be more about perception vs. someone actually being an ineffective (bad) boss/leader.   If you think about it from the manager’s point of view his/her experiences and background has led him/her to their current managing style.

So my challenge to you is have you ever made an attempt to tell your boss what you need, how he/she can be more effective with you.  I believe an employee/manager relationship regardless of the level is a two-way street.  If your boss doesn’t know how he/she may be affecting you, how can he/she adjust their behavior?  I am going to use he/him after this, but you get the idea.

I know you’re thinking, is she crazy, my boss doesn’t care what I think or that’s a quick way to lose a job.  But, you would be surprised at how many good leaders have developed after someone told them how lousy they were as a boss.  You do have to do it with much more tact. 

Think about it for a minute, everyone is different and therefore like to be managed different, so a  hands-off manager may not realize that his failure to provide any direction or feedback makes him a bad boss. He may think he’s empowering his staff.

A manager who provides too much direction and micromanages may feel insecure and uncertain about his own job. He may not realize his direction is insulting to a competent, secure, self-directed staff member.

Or, maybe the boss lacks training and is so overwhelmed with his job requirements that he can’t provide support for you. Perhaps he has been promoted too quickly or his reporting responsibilities have expanded beyond his reach. In these days of downsizing, responsibilities are often shared by fewer staff members than ever before.  If any of these ring a bell, think about:

Telling your manager what you need from him in terms of direction, feedback and support. Be polite and focus on your needs. Telling the boss he’s a bad boss is counterproductive and won’t help you meet your goals.

Ask your manager how you can help him reach his goals. Make sure you listen well and provide the needed assistance.

You may be surprised by the outcome and be part of developing leadership skills in your boss and yourself.

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