You’ve finally done it, achieved that most coveted of titles: you’ve become the boss. Congratulations are in order; but what does this mean for you after the cake’s been eaten, and the balloons popped? Will you be the good boss, the one that everyone at work loves for their humor and leadership skills? Or will you be the other kind of boss: the one that drags the office into chaotic unproductivity and muttered resentment?
The answer depends on how you choose to lead – and for new leaders, the slide into becoming the undesirable boss can be slippier than anticipated. Here are five leaders that you don’t want to be after a promotion into management.
More often than not, Dictators can mean well. They take charge with aplomb, and give decisive orders – but they forget to consider how their tone and attitude affect those they lead. A leader who barks orders without considering others’ input makes their team feel voiceless, and risks opening the door to resentment and negativity.
A good leader listens as well as speaks; acknowledgement of a team member’s idea is always necessary, regardless of whether an idea is acted upon. Paying close attention allows a thoughtful boss to listen without missing information, and avoid miscommunication.
Everyone loves this boss…to a point. They bring energy into the office with their laid-back attitude and enthusiastic enjoyment of breaks, but their free-spirited policies can cause frustration when long chats stretch fifteen-minute meetings into hour-long trials. Productivity grinds to a halt, and the weeks before project deadlines turn nightmarish as stressed employees rush to get work in on time.
Fun is important – but the best bosses know when to dial back the play and get to work.
This leader is perhaps the most frustrating to work with because they refuse to communicate. They keep their work strategies and long-term goals hidden from their employees, and often don’t update the team on project changes. Often, this is caused by simple thoughtlessness, or by a leader’s refusal to delegate work.
Unfortunately, leaders who keep work to themselves and don’t inform their teams of long- and short-term goals usually end up irritating their employees with confusing or unclear instructions. Moreover, business leader Brian Tracy suggests that a manager unable to delegate effectively will find it difficult to move up in the ranks.
This doesn’t mean that employees need to know every detail that the leader does – but when team members can’t see the whole picture, it becomes impossible for them to complete tasks and tailor results to meet project goals.
Trust your team by keeping them in the loop. You’ll see a better quality of work, and your working environment will become more positive, trusting, and productive.
At the end of the day, workers are human. The Robot refuses to acknowledge this, and focuses solely on the productivity of his team rather than thoughtfully considering the team members as individuals.
A good boss can recognize and be compassionate for those team members who face personal setbacks. An employee with a sick relative or domestic problems will, in all likelihood, be less productive than one without those stressors – and that’s okay. If team leaders take a moment to learn more about a struggling employee’s situation and extend a little time and understanding, odds are good that that team member will improve, and extend trust and gratitude in return.
The Complainer makes everyone in the office tense with his constant negativity. Potentially the most unprofessional type of leader, the Complainer vents their working frustration by grumbling about underperforming employees to other employees. While this may feel satisfying in the short run, griping in the office only creates a toxic environment rife with distrust and resentment, and embarrasses the referenced employees.
As Karen Friedman, an expert on workplace communication writes: “Don’t talk about other people. That identifies you as a gossip and someone who can’t be trusted.” A leader’s concerns should always be addressed professionally, and with regard to a team member’s feelings. The best way to handle a potential problem is to have a one-on-one chat with the team member, and make a plan for improvement then and there. A boss should never, ever, level personal negativity behind an employee’s back.
Leading a team is hard, especially for leaders new to management. But by keeping a compassionate, thoughtful, and strategic mind, a leader can create a cheerful and highly productive work environment.
Trevor Marca is an entrepreneur and marketing professional who specializes in bolstering community ties through print and digital media. For more on Trevor, visit his website.