It has often been said that people do not quit companies, they quit bosses. According to research gleaned from a Gallup study conducted in 2015, “The majority (50.8%) of employees were ‘not engaged,’ while another 17.2% were "actively disengaged” from their jobs. It can be reasonably hypothesized that today’s career professional is also disengaged from their leaders as they are an extension of the organization.
And since leadership is a priority issue for many applicants, some companies are losing great talent due to red flags showing up in the interview process in regards to management philosophy.
That said, I think it’s worth talking about the effects of certain toxic management styles that affect employee experience so we can 1) create more general awareness about the various leadership modes in the workplace 2) be more intentional about creating work atmospheres that result in happy employees and 3) cultivate strong leaders that lure amazing talent and inspire greatness in others.
There are five management archetypes in which I would like to shed light that frequently come up in conversation with clients, candidates and colleagues and are often cited as being problematic in the workplace. So without further ado…
5 Bosses to Beware In the Workplace
1. The Jealous Boss
It’s not difficult to identify this boss as he or she behaves similarly to a jealous romantic partner. This type of manager tends to show awkwardness, visible discomfort or outright frustration with the idea of you interacting with other leaders in your organization. As employees, our best option for mentorship and learning may not always be our direct supervisor so it is absolutely mission critical for us to socialize and network with other successful figures within the organization. A leader that sees this as a threat is trying to hold your career hostage and is not invested in your growth anyway. The following famous business anecdote reflects this concept perfectly:
2. The Set and Jet Boss
We are all acutely aware of the micromanager who needs no introduction as they are likely breathing down your neck right now trying to figure out what’s taking you so long to send the highly customized 15-page report they demanded five minutes ago. The Set and Jet Boss is on the opposite end of that spectrum. This supervisor gets you hooked up with the IT department to set up your workstation, configure your email and ensures you are trained on the software but really leaves you to your own devices without any concern for your growth or development. This is especially troublesome for those in the beginning to mid-stage of their career because as the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And if you think you’re doing everything correctly based on teachings from your previous company but the education you received is not on par with your new company, you are at a disadvantage. A supervisor who is a proponent of professional growth will recognize that not everyone learns the same things or comes to the table with the same level of knowledge. With that awareness, they will personally see to it that you are properly acclimated to your new environment and that they are involved in your learning process.
3. The People Pleaser Boss
This is the supervisor that has a super sunny disposition and likely has the rep of a pop icon at the water cooler. However, be careful because this person’s top priority is being liked versus being effective. You can recognize this boss by the perfect scores you receive on every performance evaluation. If you are on a 5-point scale, and you keep receiving the highest scores with no feedback on room for improvement even when you directly ask for it, it’s a red flag. It can indicate your people pleaser boss is either not paying enough attention or that they are a conflict avoider. We ALL know that NO human is perfect and that includes you and me, Mr. or Ms. Reader. Therefore, if you are truly committed to becoming a heavy hitter or key leader in your field, having a people pleasing boss is counterproductive to that objective.
4. The Bully Boss
This archetype has become notorious in career and workplace articles everywhere and for good reason. Per the following article, Workplace Bullying: Its Costs and Prevention by Jana P. Grimm of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, “In some studies, these [workplace bullying] costs are estimated to be over $250 million annually in expenditures related to health care, litigation, employee turnover, and retraining.” A bully boss is easily recognizable by their abrasive approaches in verbal and written communications. If you find that they are explosive in emails, aggressive in meetings and are hard-toned in one on one conversations then you likely have a bullying boss on your hands. More importantly, you can easily identify it by how you feel. If you find that you get nervous before asking a question or after making a mistake out of fear for your boss’s reaction then the writing is on the wall. Outside of just creating an unpleasant work atmosphere, bullying bosses are poisonous to employee development. If an employee does not have a safe space to explore, ask questions and make mistakes, then those professionals who are ripe for leadership will either flee or fail for lack of progress. To learn about more signs of bullying, click on the following article written by the Employer Resource Council via the Workplace Bullying Institute website.
5. The Unaware Boss
This last personality is the most dangerous of all because he or she has not taken the time to really think about their leadership style and how they interact with others. They do not rank self-awareness or social awareness as a priority and therefore, they are blind to the affect they have on others if they have an effect at all. Even if The Unaware Boss does not fit any of the archetypes above, not being deliberate about the energy you bring to the room or your actions is like trying to fly a plane with no concern for your passengers.
As a last note and disclaimer, this article is not implying that the onus is entirely on bosses or leaders to carry the culture of a company—team atmosphere is a team sport. As a matter of fact, some of us are leaders in the making and it behooves us ALL to think about the way we contribute to our work communities.
Please share what YOU think!
Is there another personality worth mentioning?
What do you feel has been effective in grooming leaders that inspire peak performance from their teams? What more do you think CAN be done?
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Photo Copyright: "Business hand pointing at female employee" by ra2 studio / Fotolia