The headline grabbed my attention, so I had to read the article about ‘bad bosses.’ It turned out the managers and leaders who were identified that way were not bad people. In fact, the authors found them to be “amazing individuals with remarkable personal histories, passion for their work, thoughtful philosophies on leadership, and seemingly, all the right answers. Somehow, though, these leaders had managed to undermine the confidence of their direct reports, who—usually after a couple of failed attempts to address their manager’s toxic behavior—suffered in silence.”
These normally good leaders didn’t realize that certain behaviors they exhibited when under stress significantly stained their good reputation. According to those who worked with them, when “under stress, frustrated or feeling insecure,” these leaders changed. Dramatically. In fact, their shift in behaviors led to them being identified as ‘bad bosses.’
Just think, all the good you do with and for your people can be wiped out in their minds if your behavior is inconsistent.
The authors ran workshops with the ‘bad bosses’ to discuss the detrimental behaviors they displayed when under stress. They were told to ask questions like, “When I’m under stress, what could I be doing that might destroy the courage or initiative of the people I work with?” They asked them to dig deeper, “What has a leader done in the past to destroy my own courage? What did they do or say?” That led them to identify “seven of the most common courage-destroying behaviors:”
- Reacting with anger and judgment
- Caring only about the deliverables and not about the team as people
- Not reinforcing positive performance
- Withholding negative feedback
- Ignoring their suggestions
- Not dealing with an under performing or toxic teammate
You can read about these lousy leadership behaviors in this FAST Company article: We interviewed 50 ‘bad bosses’ to learn it only takes a few toxic behaviors for everything to go by Diana Kander and Ashley Good, 1/29/2022.