So, how to be a terrible boss? What makes me qualified to write about this? Because I was a terrible boss. I was chatting with a friend recently and asked him who he thought made the best counselors. He asked me what I meant, and I said, “You know, like who would make the best drug counselor?” He said, “A reformed addict.” I asked why and he said, “Because they know what to do and what not to do.” In management, I know what not to do.

How to be a Terrible Boss

1. Be a “Do as I say not as I do” boss

Those procedures and policies weren’t created for you, they were meant to keep employees in check. You’ve earned the right to do it your way regardless of what the manual says.

2. Manage through fear and intimidation

None of that touchy-feely stuff here. If you hired people to do a job they better damn well do it or face your wrath, and when they’ve had enough you can just hire more; over and over again.

3. Try to be the “nice” boss 

Don’t critique people too much, it just leads to conflict. Take it easy on the team. When they don’t meet quotas, or you have to fire them for breaking policy it’s not your fault; you were nice.

4. Believe the end justifies the means

Do whatever you have to do to get it done. Push employees, take short cuts, over promise the customer. So what if the team is demoralized and you’ve lost customers, at least the job got done—sort of.

5. You need to know more than any member of your team

That way you can stay on top of everything. No one can pull the wool over your eyes. Of course, it might be a little difficult with the engineer, attorney, or designer

7. You don’t need to stay up to date

There’s no need for you to keep up with what’s new in your industry, what your competition is up to, or how the market has changed. You’re a born leader. It’s in your DNA. There are some things that just can’t be taught. Do you think leadership comes in a book? Do ya?

8. You spread poison

It’s okay to be toxic because you’re the boss. It’s good management to pit people against one another, complain about other departments, and show a little passive aggressiveness. It keeps employees on their toes. Have you become a toxic boss?

9. You lie to your team

The truth is you have to lie. Your team doesn’t need to know everything. It would demoralize them.

10. You don’t listen

Why would you listen to underlings? They need to listen to you!

11. You believe recognition is overacted

Your boss doesn’t pamper you with recognition so why should you recognize employees? People should be adults and just do their jobs without all this touchy feely stuff.

Don’t be a Bad Boss be BAD A Boss!

I’ve BTDT (been there done that) with all the above. If you don’t believe me ask some of my staff from 1988. It was a dark time, but I learned. I learned fear and intimidation get results for a short time, but create a toxic environment. I learned being the nice guy and not holding direct reports answerable for their actions wasn’t nice—helping someone improve through education and accountability was being nice. And it only took 30 years to learn this. Do yourself a favor. You don’t have to be a slow learner like me. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t be a terrible boss.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.

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