By Doug Hutton – Vice President of Operations
We’ve all had that bad boss. They do make for wonderful, if sad, tales around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Maybe it’s the boss that never gave any feedback, or gave so much feedback that you wonder why you even try. I doubt any of us have gone full Peter Gibbons or Milton Waddams in response to a bad boss, but I’m sure we’ve all dialed back productivity a bit or spent more time browsing Facebook when our engagement started to drop. I’m not the only one that’s done that, right? Anybody? Moving on.
It’s incredibly easy to judge our boss, company leaders, and everyone else for not living up to our high standards. Yet, how often do we turn that lens around and look at our own performance? We have teams, direct reports, and stakeholders relying on us. What does their Thanksgiving story look like? What grade would they give you?
Second City Works has examined all the characteristics of the bad bosses we know and love (hate?). From their lack of communication to non-existent empathy, they make work worse. If you’re an employee that doesn’t manage anyone, enjoy the read, laugh a bit, and pass it along to a boss that could use it. If you’re a boss, a manager, a leader, read it, scowl a bit (and laugh, it’s always welcome), but most importantly, reflect on your own leadership. Some key questions to consider, and ones that I try to answer in my own work every day:
Am I authentic, and do I lead with authenticity? Does my team know where I stand and do I communicate that authentically with respect for competing viewpoints?
Do I collaborate and welcome the opinions of others? Do I acknowledge and build on ideas that I may not personally like at first?
Do I deliver the right amount of feedback at the right times that enable my teams to act independently? Do I coach my teams in a way such that they can find the right answer without me?
Am I present for each and every conversation? Am I truly listening? Can I respond with empathy? Full disclosure – as a remote leader, this is the single hardest thing for me. Put down the distractions and give yourself 100% to every conversation. Good note, self.
Am I replicating any scene from Office Space right now? Other than in an ironic way meant to draw a laugh?
Can I receive upward feedback? Can I adapt my own behavior in the moment and over time? Do I set the example I want others to take?
Do people want to work for me or with me? Do they enjoy their jobs? Do they want to bring others into the organization?
As with everything we do at Second City Works, we want to make work better. A great boss, and a great leader, makes work better – for their teams, their clients, and other leaders. Don’t be a bad boss. We’ve got enough of them. Join us in making work better.