5 signs you're a lousy boss

Flickr user pboyd04

(Money Watch) COMMENTARY Everyone has horror stories about bad bosses. Then when we become the boss, we tend to think that we're only doing what is necessary and, by the way, that employees cause all the problems.

Thing is, part of a manager's job is to handle bad employees; an employee shouldn't have to handle a bad boss. So how do you know if you are one? Here are five signs that you're failing in your job as a manager. 

1. Your employees lie to you. This may sound like a bad employee problem, but why do they need to lie to you? Do you make unreasonable demands? Punish people excessively for mistakes? Interrogate them over why they need time off? These things all create a culture where your employees feel the only way they can get what they need is to lie. A culture of openness and understanding makes for employees who will speak honestly with you.

2. No other managers want to poach your employees. A good manager develops good employees. Other managers want good employees. If you are developing good employees, your peers will express interest in working with them. If you spend more time trying to get rid of bad employees than trying to keep your good ones, the problem may be with you.

3. You always have emergencies. Business is sometimes unpredictable. And clients? They're not always forthcoming with their true needs and desires. But the fact that things are unpredictable is, well, predictable. As a manager, it's your job to assess the situation and plan in advance. Occasional emergencies are understandable, but constant ones mean that you're not doing what you need to do. Sometimes that involves pushing back against your superiors and protecting your people. It means scheduling according to actual needs, and if you don't have the budget for that it often means changing the definition of need.

4. You always ask yourself "what can I legally do?" rather than "what should I do?" Yes, you have to follow the law. But just because you can tell an employee to cancel their vacation or stay late when they have plans doesn't mean you should. Just because you can fire someone for no reason whatsoever doesn't mean you should fire someone because you feel like it. 

5. You steal credit. Some managers try to impress their bosses by taking credit for everyone's work. This won't only backfire on you when your star employee quits and suddenly your boss is asking for all that work that "you" used to do, but will cause your employees to resent you. Managers are supposed to manage people. Showing that you are capable of hiring, developing, training, and guiding people who are doing great work is what your superiors want to see. 

Certainly this list is not exhaustive, but take a quick look at yourself and see if you fall into any of these categories. If so, stop it and change your behavior. You'll be surprised at how your employees respond to your improved management skills.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send your questions to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of Flickr user pboyd04

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