We all like to think that we’re great bosses, in fact, we know we are because our team never complain or say anything bad about us.
But when 50% of people who leave their job do so because of their boss, then we can’t all be great bosses. The fact they never say anything isn’t proof that they don’t like you. It’s just proof that they don’t tell you everything, especially when it’s about you.
Here are fifteen things people hate about their boss but will never tell them to their face.
Many of us will have worked for bosses where we wonder how on earth did they get the job. They have neither the technical skill nor the leadership skills to lead others who are technically competent. The hatred steps up when the boss demands to be involved in all aspects, and want to exert strong control, even though they lack the knowledge to add any value. This often leads to initiatives failing which is never popular.
You Play Favourites
Just because you think Bob is a great guy, or Suzy is a great gal, doesn’t mean that every piece of work they do is the best and that they deserve to get all the best opportunities. Few things cause dysfunction within a team more than the boss playing favourites. Not only does this lead to the team hating you, but they will also hate those that you favour. Share the love and opportunities.
You Only Want To Hear Agreement
It’s great that you are a boss that listens. It’s a shame that you only want to hear agreement and positive things about your ideas and suggestions.
Studies show that when projects fail, 70% of the time the teams involved knew before the start that they would fail.
By refusing to listen to honest opinions, you can be dooming your teams to a failure that they can see coming.
You Delegate Without Authority
Delegating but without delegating authority is a clear sign of a control freak. You want them to do the job, but still want them to come back and agree on everything with you before they can get things done. This stops people from taking ownership and makes them feel like nothing more than an operative with little or no influence over outcomes.
People want clear direction. They want to know exactly what needs to be done and by when. You can’t lead effectively if you don’t know in which direction you’re going. Indecision impacts people’s confidence both in the leader and the probable success of the initiatives being undertaken, and no- one wants to be on a losing team.
You Can’t Focus
One of the few things worse than indecision is a lack of focus, a constant changing of priorities, which leaves teams confused as to what’s important. Make a decision and stick to it until the task is completed.
It’s One Rule For Them, Another One For You
There are perks which come with being a manager, everyone understands that and it’s why a lot of people want to become managers. But it’s when those perks extend beyond the standard benefits that people start to take a dislike.
At one company I worked our boss forbid us to call him on weekends, or after 7 pm as this was family time, yet he had no issue with calling us when we were on vacation, or on weekends when he needed us. And don’t get me started about leaving early on Fridays…
You’re A Sexist
Yes, this is still an issue. We’d like to think we have overcome it but it’s not true. Bosses need to set the tone for this, but too often I see and hear from people that the way they treat women is still unacceptable. When I ask them why they don’t say anything, they just say that’s HR’s job.
You’re A Hands-Off Paper Shuffler
I first heard of this term when I applied for a program manager’s job on large change program. The HR director asked me about my leadership style, and I said “I like to empower my team to be successful, but I am not adverse to jumping in when needed and getting my hands dirty”.
They said “good, because the last manager, was a hands-off paper shuffler, who was great at admin, but as soon as the bullets were flying was nowhere to be seen, and the team hated that”. Be available, supportive and ready to jump in if needed.
Everyone hates a micro-manager because no one wants to have someone stood on their shoulder all the time asking are we finished yet, are we finished yet.
Give people the chance to be successful without driving them nuts chasing up every two minutes.
You Make Them Feel Like They Work For You
People love to feel like the work with you and not for you, that we are all one big team working together. They know you’re the boss; there is no need to keep reminding them of this by commanding rather than asking, or directing rather than discussing.
You Throw Them Under The Bus
When things fail, and no matter how good you are at some point they will, even if it’s a small bump on the road, don’t throw your team under the bus. As leaders, we always have to share some of the blame. Either we didn’t give the clearest orders, or didn’t choose the right person, or didn’t provide enough support or follow up. We are never 100% blameless. Yet when we throw our teams under the bus that’s exactly what we are saying. It’s not my fault it was them.
You Expect Them To Be Workaholics
You talk about the importance of work-life balance yet set deadlines that demand weekend and late night working. You schedule initiatives that run over the holidays, and you give them multiple priorities that you know they cannot meet in regular working.
There has to be some give-and-take but when it becomes all take, that’s when the relationship starts to deteriorate.
You Don’t Support Them
The one thing that people expect from their boss is support. A helping hand when the going gets tough, a word of encouragement to keep them motivated, and you defending them when things don’t go quite as planned or people start to criticize them unfairly.
One boss I worked for, never supported any of his team and then when he needed them, they were nowhere to be seen. It was funny that this came as a big shock to him.
It’s All About You
Everyone who comes to work wants to feel like they did a good job, and one of the ways they get that feeling is from the recognition and credit they get for the results that they achieve. As a boss, if you take all the credit, then you rob them of this feeling and make work become a chore.
Just because your teams never say anything, or complain about the way we lead them, doesn’t mean that they are happy with your management style. It just means that they are looking for another job and the first hint that you will get is when they hand in their notice.
Although I expect that many of those who fall into that category will never question the true reason as to why they left, they will just accept the “it’s a better opportunity,” or the “I’m leaving for more money” excuse that they are given.
Look at your management style and look to see how many of these could apply to you, and if you want to retain your staff, then look to make some changes now.
Oh yes, and an apology is always a good start.