Guest expert: 3 ways to be a terrible boss
If you’ve read any of my other articles, then you know the drill. If you haven’t read any of them, then the title pretty much says it all. We’re going to discuss some of the managerial techniques that will help you receive a wildly enthusiastic round of applause from your employees on the day of your retirement. Every week I have the privilege of talking with people in various industries about some of their favorite horror stories, and now I get to share them with you. Here we go!
Let Your Employees Know That You Absolutely Can’t Help Them!
Step one of being an ineffectual manager. Your employees definitely want something – recognition, opportunities for advancement, access to new educational opportunities or cutting-edge technologies – and it’s your job to let them know that you have no access to any of those things. How could you, with all the manager-y things you have to do every day? I mean seriously, if you spent all your time connecting your employees to the things they want, you wouldn’t be able to send disappointed emails to your superiors about poor morale and sluggish productivity in your department.
Let Your Employees Know That You Aren’t Interested in Helping Them!
The diabolical step two! At this point, your employees have come to you with a request, and it’s one that you’ve told them you can’t currently answer. So what should you do? You might think the natural answer is to promise your employees to spend some time looking into ways they can get what they need, but nothing could be further from the truth. The best of you will make sure that your “Sorry, I can’t help you” comment ends with such a colossal lack of concern on your part that your employees instinctively know that you’ll never lift a finger to help them. Common methods include a blank stare, turning immediately back to your computer, or (best I can currently think of) escorting them to the door of your office while you’re telling them that you can’t help them. That’ll teach them to think that you’re all working together as part of a team!
Have Only One Idea of What Progress Really Means!
Those of you who have ever driven in Washington D.C. know that there are approximately 43 ways to get where you’re going, and that none of those ways involve a straight line. The same is generally true of business as well, since the future has a seriously annoying habit of not happening right now. Which means the best of you – by which of course I mean the worst of you – will sincerely believe that there is only one path forward. A lot of people interpret this as a “my way or the highway” style of managing, but you don’t have to beat people over the head with your autocracy. Doing so will allow you to ignore or chastise your employees who have slightly different ideas for product development, career advancement, or whatever else it is that their silly little minds have thought of this time.
Thanks for reading, and congratulations! If you’re doing any of these things, you’re probably not only a terrible manager – you’re also a terrible person. And I couldn’t be prouder of you right now.
Jeff Havens is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer who addresses leadership, generational issues, and other areas of professional development through a unique blend of content and entertainment. He has been a regular guest on Fox Business News and featured in CNBC, BusinessWeek, and Bloomberg News. To learn more about Jeff’s keynote presentations and corporate training, visit JeffHavens.com.