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Good Boss, Bad Boss. Which Are You?

Maybe it is not them.

If employee turnover and absenteeism within the company are too high, and productivity and morale too low, the person in charge may be the one at fault.

To find out how good — or bad — a boss you are, the small business advocacy group, suggests asking yourself these questions:

1. Have you ever publicly criticised an employee?

2. Do you take credit for your employees’ work?

3. Do your employees fear you?

4. Do you expect employees to do what you tell them without question?

5. Do you believe employees should know what to do without you telling them or providing guidelines?

6. Are you a shouter?

7. Do you demean employees as a form of punishment?

8. Do you play favourites?

9. Do you hate delegating?

10. Do you check everyone’s work?

According to the answer key, the more “yes” answers, the greater the likelihood you are a bad boss.

A SHORT CHECKLIST Given that Trevor Gay wrote a book called “Simplicity Is the Key” — published in the UK by Kingsham Press in 2004 — it is not surprising that he has come up with a basic list of the differences between good and bad bosses.

In his 35 years of work (in the health care industry), Mr Gay said he discovered that his best bosses had these attributes:

  • “Inspired confidence
  • Were humble
  • Had integrity
  • Knew what they were talking about
  • Let me get on with things
  • Were always there when I needed help
  • Usually said, ‘Yes, try it.’”

His worst bosses, he said, had these deficiencies:

  • “Never seemed to be around when I needed them
  • Always asked me to justify what I wanted to do
  • Always wanted to know what I was doing
  • Often said ‘no, we can’t do that’
  • Gave the impression of being distrustful
  • Didn’t smile much
  • Talked about themselves a lot.”

HOW TO BE A BAD BOSS Paul Lemberg, an executive coach, has compiled a list of ways weak bosses can hinder an employee’s performance.

His advice to those bosses is to "stop immediately," if they are doing any of the following:

  • You don't give employees a clear and compelling company direction. When people align themselves with the company’s goals, they are free to invent, to improvise, to innovate, to inspire each other.
  • You say important things only once. If the message is important, it is worth repeating.
  • You don’t hold employees accountable.
  • You concentrate on trying to improve employees’ shortcomings. “Bad bosses waste too much energy on employee makeovers. Don’t worry about weaknesses — instead, figure out what employees are really good at and train them to be brilliant.”