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Signs You Are An Awful Boss

Managing people entails a great deal of commitment, dedication, and patience. With everyone looking to you for direction, there’s just no room to be complacent and disorganized. Otherwise, the company could suffer serious consequences.

However, being the person who steers the boat doesn’t necessarily mean everyone paddling behind needs to hate you. In fact, you should aim for the opposite. After all, you don’t want people who merely do whatever you tell them just to have you off their back. You want team members who actively participate and contribute to the team’s success. 

That said, it’s not easy to assess yourself as a boss. To gauge your effectiveness, you shouldn’t only look at the amount and quality of work delivered but also at how your team respects you as its leader. Here are a few signs you are an awful boss and ways to improve yourself as a leader and manager. 

Body Language

People most likely wouldn’t tell you if you’re a terrible person to work with. Be that as it may, they won’t be able to hide it through their body language. 

If you observe any of these behaviors or mannerisms, they might be signs you are an awful boss: 

  • You see your teammates huddled up and having a good time from afar. But as you approach the group, they grow silent and disperse subtly.
  • Everyone in your group displays negative body language when they talk to you. Mannerisms, such as forced smiles, crossed arms, and lack of eye contact may indicate that a person doesn’t like you.
  • Your members tend to distance themselves from you. When you’re in the room, they suddenly remember they have to do something important. In short, it’s clear that they don’t feel comfortable around you.

Ways to improve
There’s no direct way to address or change your colleague’s body language. After all, it’s the effect of how they perceive you or feel about you. If you notice negative body language on their part, it’s best to assess how you can make them more comfortable around you. 

You Don’t Listen Enough

When you go out for a team lunch or a team-building activity, you feel that you don’t know a lot about your teammates out of work. Yes, you know about each one’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to deliverables. But other than that, you don’t know anything about them.   

Knowing your teammates only as workers and not as persons may be one of the signs you are an awful boss. And it could be because you don’t listen to them enough.

Ways to improve:
Acknowledging that you don’t listen enough is already the first step to being a better listener. Doing so will push you to be more attentive to your teammates and know them a bit more outside of work.

Here are a few tips to be a better listener:

  • Maintain eye contact. When a colleague comes to talk to you about something, take the time to stop what you’re doing, and give them your full attention. Keep your eyes off your computer monitor and maintain eye contact as they talk to you.
  • Be open-minded. Having assumptions in your mind can make you a bad listener. When talking to someone, avoid making presumptions and keep an open mind during the conversation.
  • Don’t interrupt. Give your colleague the floor when it’s their time to speak. Don’t finish their sentences or offer solutions right away before you hear what they have to say. 

No One Talks to You

You might not know a lot of things about your workmates because you don’t listen well. However, the issue may also lie on the opposite end of the conversation – they simply don’t want to talk to you. 

Several factors could be at play in this situation. For one, they might find you too intimidating that they don’t feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with you unless work requires it. Also, previous interactions might have made them feel that they can’t talk to you freely about stuff other than work.  

How to improve:
Open communication within your team is crucial to being productive. Here are a few ways to foster better communication:

  • Keep things professional when you need to provide constructive criticism to a team member. It should be clear that you’re addressing their work and not their personality.
  • Encourage various ways of communication. After all, not everyone may be comfortable talking to you face-to-face about a problem they’re dealing with. To resolve this, provide them other channels to talk to you – may it be through email, office messaging software, or even anonymous workplace evaluation.  

The Team Undermines Your Work

Your teammates not seeing the value of your work is one of the signs you are an awful boss. When this is the case, people feel that you’re simply asking them to do the heavy-lifting while you sit pretty. Obviously, this perspective doesn’t encourage your team to respect you as a leader and as someone whom they could look up to.

How to improve:
Before delegating a task, make sure that you know just how complicated it is. How much time and effort does it require? How much time allowance can you offer to accommodate a learning curve? It also helps to show your team that you’re working hard alongside them. Let them know that you’re not simply waiting for their task so that you can take credit for it.

Your Ego Gets the Best of You

When you’re appointed to lead a team, it’s easy to think and feel that you’re the best person in the room. That may be the case, but your ego shouldn’t be too big that it weighs your team down. Not only will arrogance make your team resent you, but it can also blind you to windows for growth opportunities. 

How to improve:
Even if you have the most experience in what you do, recognize each team member’s unique strengths. Acknowledge that you can’t be the best in everything. After all, you’re not running a one-man show; everyone in the team needs to contribute something to reach your collective goals.

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