In the world of employees, a good boss is differentiated from a bad boss by the way the boss makes the employees feel. They also assess the boss based on his or her contribution – or lack thereof – to their ability to get their jobs done successfully.
Employees tolerate a lot of bad boss behavior. Many bosses are untrained, uncaring, and not held accountable for their actions and interaction with employees. Some were promoted to jobs above their competence to perform. Bad management practices weigh heavily in whether your employees hate you.
If any of these practices spell out your actions and behaviors as a manager, it is true. Your employees probably hate you. Oh, they may like you as a person and hate you as a boss, but that’s treading on a narrow line. If you bungle management long enough, or badly enough, they will hate you as a person, too.
- You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Are you competent at your job? This is the first consideration when your employees look at your work. Do you provide them with the leadership they need to succeed? Are you leading and managing in a way that makes your employees know that you know what is going on in the organization. They have to be able to see that your department’s goals are part of something bigger and that they help move the something bigger forward.
The worst manifestation of not knowing what you’re doing is to give employees the wrong information and then lie when confronted with the truth. You also demonstrate incompetence when you present information that is wrong or you interpret the numbers incorrectly when talking or presenting to your reporting staff. They will always catch you out when you don’t tell the truth, pretend to know what you don’t know, or withhold information that made them fail. And, they will hate you.
- You Treat Them Disrespectfully
When you demonstrate a lack of respect for employees, you injure their feelings, their self-confidence, and their self-esteem. Furthermore, if you treat them disrespectfully, you will never garner their respect in return. Employees are feelings-oriented people who are like radar machines scoping out the work environment.
When you talk over them, belittle their ideas, ignore their input, and criticize them unfairly, they feel disrespected. Calling last minute meetings with no regard for their prior commitments, refusing to okay vacation time use that was appropriately requested, and failing to commit needed resources in a timely manner are hallmarks of disrespectful behavior. Employees know when they are not respected and they will hate you.
- Work Is All About You
Are you the center of the employees’ world? Everything starts with you and ends with you? Do you formulate expectations for employees based on whether their outcomes will make you look good? Worst, do you chastise employees for errors or unmet goals because they made you look bad? When everything is all about the manager, employees know and they hate you.
- You're a Blockhead or a Jerk
Insert negative name of choice. Take your pick. Are you unreasonable, selfish, manipulative, or stupid in your behavior toward your reporting staff? A prima donna that requires their attention and approbation - constantly? Do you think about their feelings or the impact of your decisions on their work? Do you tell tales about one employee to his or her colleagues in your department?
Do you play one employee against another by offering a prize for the best project? Think about a time when you thought of another individual as a jerk? Was he or she a lot like you? If so, you know why your employees hate you.
- You Over Manage Good Employees
Even earnest managers can make an incorrect assessment about how much managing an employee needs. When you trust your employees and let them figure out how to accomplish their job, you call forth their significant contributions. If you micromanage and nitpick their ideas and work, you will never tap into their discretionary energy or the best they have to offer.
Sure, new employees, employees in training, and employees who change jobs or acquire new responsibilities need more guidance. But, if you don’t watch your need to guide them lessen over time, you are the problem. Micromanage good employees and they will hate you – or run away as far as possible as quickly as they can.
- You Don’t Know What They Are Doing
You don’t have to know how to do every employee’s job to be a good manager. But, you have to understand enough about their work to guide them. You need to communicate with the employee often enough to know how he is progressing and what challenges he experiences.
If you make decisions about his work, you must know more than the minimum about the project or job. If you tell him what to do or how to do it, which is not recommended, you better know more than the employee does, or he will hate you.
- You Don’t Act As If They Have a Life
You don’t need to know everything about the lives of your reporting staff, but you need to act as if they have lives. Asking employees to work late, work more, and assigning more work than they can do will stress out the employees. They want to do well at work, but they also have myriad responsibilities with home, family, friends, volunteering, sports events, and so much more. Offering some flexibility and understanding will earn their respect.
In fact, the youngest generation of employees, unlike their older coworkers, demands flexibility and free time to pursue all of their other interests. Put barriers in their way and you will find yourself without an employee. And, who you lose will be your most skilled, highly valued employees who have the skill set necessary to network and leave. If you make them feel guilty, object to what they need to do, or act as if you are put out every time they pursue their other priorities, your employees will hate you – and the best will leave.
- You Don’t Give them Credit When Credit Is Due
Employees enjoy recognition and credit for their accomplishments. They like having coworkers praise their work and think highly of them. Where managers mess up in this arena is by taking credit for their employees’ ideas and accomplishments. Not mentioning that the idea was Mary’s is the fatal omission a manager makes. You may think that you are currying favor from upper management, but your employees will find out.
A senior manager will mention your idea in an employee meeting and everyone will know it wasn’t your idea. You’ll get credit for a job well done – and the job was done by your reporting staff - but no one recognizes the team – which employees know means that you didn’t. Your employees won’t trust you and, when this happens repeatedly, they will hate you.
- You Don’t Have Their Backs
When you throw your employees under the bus, you will not recover. The minute an employee knows that, rather than supporting her and offering reasons why a project or timeline may have failed, you blamed her, it’s all over. Even if you are disappointed in the employee’s performance, you publicly blame them to your shame. Rather than earning the approbation of senior managers, you will be known as the manager who throws employees under the bus. And, those employees will hate you.
- You’re a Bully
Bullies reside in boss’s clothing more often than you’d ever think possible. In fact, bully behavior is one of the bad boss indicators that is shared on this site most frequently. Bully behavior encompasses bosses who yell and cuss at employees, physically intimidate employees by physical proximity, and block employees from getting away either from their desk or the room.
Bullies intimidate employees with words, threaten employees and their jobs, and have even been known to throw objects at employees. Bullies belittle employees and chip away at an employee’s self-confidence and self-esteem with criticism, name calling, and ridicule. Bullies are condescending, demeaning, and cruel. It’s tough to describe bully behavior, but employees know when they are being bullied and they will hate you.
All of these behaviors are unacceptable at work. Yet, they occur daily in workplaces worldwide. My best advice to an employee who is experiencing any of these behaviors? Get out of there. You do not need to spend your life or your career being subjected to behaviors like these. Begin your stealth job search now.
In the meantime, you have to decide whether you have the courage necessary to take on any of these behaviors. If you do, and it may not be in your best interests, these ideas will help: