Have you ever had a really bad boss? Well, I have. This individual drove everybody out until the company had to close the regional office because everyone quit or was fired by this tyrannical psycho.
I quit after being there for just six months — only days after being recognized as the region’s top new sales professional. They treated me like scum even though I was a top performer. This job was so bad that I don’t even list it on my resume or LinkedIn profile.
Even after several people complained to HR, and one individual recorded a meeting in which he was verbally assaulted and threatened, there was no action taken to resolve the issues.
In spite of that being a nasty career experience, I learned some valuable lessons about what not to do in management. Here are some traits that my former manager exemplified that led to the mass exodus of employees and then to the shutdown of the regional office.
1. Narcissistic Micro Management
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Be a leader, someone that your employees admire, rather than trying to control them at the micro level. Inspire by leading by example with your work ethic, integrity, and by treating people with respect.
A bad manager’s motivational tactic is to threaten people’s job. A leader should be the teacher and find ways to help people improve. Managing by fear makes employees resent the company. The first chance they get they will jump ship. My old boss locked the back door, so we had to pass by his office every time we left the building so he could keep tabs on us. These types of passive aggressive behaviors show a lack of trust and respect.
2. Create Office Politics and Drama
This manager pitted his people against one another. He told one person one thing that someone said and then told the other person that the same thing was being said about them. Office politics kills morale, and as the manager you should be doing things to prevent it not perpetuate it. Don’t be vindictive. Create a positive environment where people want to come to every day.
3. Lie and Be Unprofessional to Customers
I caught this individual lying to customers on more than one occasion. Additionally, in a meeting with a CFO of a local company, he was so mean and rude that she actually threw the company’s proposal across the table at him. Then she kicked us out of her office, said she would never do business with us, and told us not to come back. Yes, this was the low point of my career. It truly felt like an out of body experience.
4. Air Your Dirty Laundry at the Office
My former manager was always telling us about the drama that was happening at his house between him and his wife. Imagine that, his wife didn’t like him either. It made everyone uncomfortable and they resented him more and trusted him less.
5. Gripe About Your Employees Not Working Hard Enough While You’re Slacking
We caught him watching YouTube videos all the time in his office. Then he would take every chance he could get to tell us all how worthless we all were and that we weren’t working hard enough.
6. Abrasive Communication Style
He used to curse during meetings at employees and use public humiliation to put people down. Cursing at employees will get you in trouble with HR at most companies. If HR turns a blind eye to it like it did in my case, expect a mass exodus of employees.
Nobody likes someone who is a know it all and can do no wrong. Don’t take all the credit when things go right and then be the first to pass blame when things go wrong.
Have you ever had that pit in your stomach develop on Sunday just from the thought that Monday is only a day away; and, you know you have to go back to work? Well, I am glad I don’t have it anymore. That place is my rear view mirror.
While this experience rocked me to the core, tested my inner-resolve, and brought me to new career lows I could have never imagined, I learned and grew from it. I am a better leader myself because of seeing the effects of what poor management can do to a company. Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it.