PAYDAY Workforce Solutions Blog

Ever Had A Bad Boss?

On Aug 6, 2014

Dori Meinert, writing for SHRM, the Society of Resource Management, says that having a bad boss causes stress, anger, low morale, and even health problems.

Michelle McQuaid, positive psychologist and expert in workplace interventions, agrees, saying bad bosses negatively affect the health of their employees, undermine their success, and cost companies money.

She cites Swedish researchers led by Anna Nyberg at the Stress Institute in Stockholm who found that employees with bad bosses were 60 percent more likely to suffer heart attack or other serious cardiac condition than employees who worked with good leaders.

5 Types of Bad Bosses

The Society of Human Resources Management points to five types of bad bosses. See if you recognize anyone that you’ve reported to in the following:

  1. The Bully Boss uses intimidation and public humiliation, abuse their authority, and do things like use foul language and raise their voices on a regular basis. Bully bosses make employees and everyone within earshot nervous, uncomfortable, and even frightened.
  2. The Micromanager Boss constantly checks work, criticizes how it’s done, makes employees redo work needlessly, and may even pull work away from employees to do it themselves. Micromanager bosses make their employees feel like they don’t trust them and discouraging leadership, independent work, and good performance.
  3. The Workaholic Boss overdoes everything and expects employees to do the same, requiring them to respond to phone calls and emails at all hours. Workaholic bosses overwhelm everyone around them, confusing work issues, and blurring the lines between on-the-clock and off-the-clock requests and direction.
  4. The By-the-Numbers Boss focuses solely on reports and data and neglects good supervision and communication. By-the-Numbers bosses hold their staff accountable to performance without explaining or supervising it, using data and reports as evidence against workers without giving them a way to understand how to do better.
  5. The Divisive Boss plays favorites and works to set workers against each other nstead of coaching and leading them. Divisive bosses will fawn over some employees while ignoring others, causing discord in teams and project groups. They make it difficult for the people in their group to get along and unwittingly forge alliances among disenfranchised employees.

Bad Boss Behaviors

Kathy Gurichek, writing for SHRM, says bad bosses use a variety of bad and weird behaviors that make employees uncomfortable and stressed. The silent treatment, not giving credit for a job well done, breaking promises, making negative comments about employees, invading employee privacy, and blaming others for their mistakes are just some of the ways bad bosses behave.

Some bosses cross the line from being just bad bosses to being abusive. Physical violence, harassment, and discrimination are not just signs of a bad boss, they are illegal and should be reported.

Developing Bad Bosses

There are basically two ways to handle bad bosses who are creating a drain on employee morale, performance, and the company bottom line. Fire them or train and develop them as leaders and better supervisors. Richard Williams PhD and Wallace Higgins MBA believe firms in the future may use leader development programs to prevent negligent supervision from toxic leaders.

If your bad boss isn’t going away or getting leadership training, there are healthy ways to cope. Best-selling author of management books Peter Economy says don’t let a bad boss’s behavior change your behavior. Don’t bad-mouth a bad boss or try to commiserate with co-workers. Find appropriate outlets to discuss how the boss is affecting you, such as a trusted confidant away from work or a counselor, and take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

Contact PAYDAY for more assistance about dealing with bad bosses.

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