4 signs you’re an awful boss

A recent poll from job-search site Monster found as many as 76% of people say they currently have or recently had a toxic boss.

We all think we’re great bosses, right? Well what if you’re actually a pretty lousy boss? And if you were, would you necessarily know it?

  1. You micromanage your people

In your head, nobody can do the job as well as you can, it takes too long to coach and train people, and so you might as well save time and just do it yourself.

This may work in the short term but not only will you lose good employees, you’ll probably also drive yourself to an early grave.

Let go – what’s the worse that can happen? The more you empower your people the more time you have to lead and inspire them. And the more loyal they’ll be in the process.


  1. You have favourites

Let’s be honest; we all have favourites. But you’re the type of boss that lets everyone know who yours are – little shared ‘in’ jokes, providing them with the ‘best’ jobs, inviting only them out for a drink after work (ok, the latter hasn’t happened in a while…).

Not only does having favourites ensure that the people who haven’t made it into this hallowed group feel like crap, but it actually also makes the favourite employee feel uncomfortable too. Ask yourself why is someone your favourite – do they ‘get’ you, or are they your highest performer? Whatever the reason, try to address your own attitude and think about how it must feel for those who haven’t made your favourites list.


  1. Your employees are a means to an end

They work for you, not the other way around right? Do they know how hard it is to run a business? They’re here to do a job – you’re not a charity! – and if they can’t understand that then they know where the door is.

This type of boss thinks that most employees are lazy time wasters, and should be managed accordingly (see point 1 above). But not only does this demotivate them, it’s exhausting for you. Try to see them as individuals. If they’re not performing as you’d wish, try to get to the root of why. Surely, at the very least, it’s a lot cheaper hanging on to employees than constantly having to replace them because they’re not up to scratch?


  1. You can’t bear conflict and avoid it at all costs

You’re the type of boss that wants to do right by everyone; you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and as a result, you never tackle performance issues with your employees. You cringe when you think about a difficult conversation you need to have, and you’ll do absolutely anything to avoid it.

Unfortunately, although your heart may be in the right place, if you’re this type of boss, you’re doing a lot of harm to your workforce. Not only will people never understand how to improve and grow, the rest of your employees will be quietly seething in the background seeing you tolerate poor performance – which is extremely damaging to morale – you’ll end up losing them, no question.

Instead of shying away from difficult conversations, try to think about them as being a positive management tool – if you lack confidence, get some training – engage a coach who’ll challenge you, and think about all those employees who aren’t thanking you for tolerating poor performance.

So how do you become a better boss?

  1. Think like a football coach – what positions can you put people in to that will allow their particular skills to shine?
  2. Stop thinking you have to do everything yourself.
  3. Lighten up – your business is the most important thing to you; it may not be for your employees.
  4. Accept that employees have a life outside work.
  5. Also accept feedback – in fact, encourage it.
  6. Don’t expect everyone to agree with you – it’s shouldn’t be your way or the highway.
  7. Finally, be a mentor to your people – someone they want to follow through hot coals. And don’t forget that being a mentor also means having the courage to confront poor performance.

If you’re struggling with any of the above, please contact me for a free, no obligation chat on 07581 152531 or get in touch here.