When Bosses boss too much – HR Hates this
Numerous studies and research points out that Boss/Supervisor is one of the top 3 reasons people leave an organization and holds good even in 2020. We know that all jobs are difficult at-times and require us to go the extra mile but if this is the norm, employees will burn-out leading to a disengaged workforce, low productivity, satisfaction, and work culture.
In a study by The American Psychological Association, it is found that 75% of people believe “Boss is the most stressful part of their workday”.
Thru this article, my idea is to document the common types of bosses we see and what can we do about them including what not to do! A concise ~8 minute video version of this article is also available here.
First, the types of Bosses :
#1 : The Micromanager
Micromanagers are every talented individual’s devil. Micromanagers strip people of their individuality, creativity, freedom, thinking, and a lot more. Not to mention the hindrance they cause by checking in every now and then. They also are the ones who like to decide even the tiniest tasks and few go all the way to take every credit you otherwise deserved. This way they loose the trust, loyalty & commitment of their team members.
#2 : The Super Authoritative
These kinds don’t lead an ear nor are considerate of others. They impose themselves upon their team members, dictate what they feel is right, and are downright unreasonable & intimidating. They may have a knack to be the performers but often at the cost of others around them. Individuals lack comfort, a feeling of belonging, and work either under excessive pressure/fear.
#3 : The No Knowledge Boss
It is blood boiling to see someone who “in my opinion” does not deserve to be in a particular position and don’t worry there are plenty out there. What we see is they occupying positions due to proximity to the owners, tenure in the organization, or outright politics. Well, there is another breed as well. Despite having no knowledge, deliver results to the organization. Whether former or the latter, we have something to learn from them – to be indispensable!
#4 : The Buddy Boss
Bosses who are over-friendly and poke into the personal lives of their subordinates beyond a point, maybe nice initially but over a period of time become irritant. A boss need not be a friend & shouldn’t expect to be liked/loved but should be respected for his skills, competence & results instead. If over-indulged with buddy bosses, performance drops, career stalls as everything in between is taken for granted.
#5 : The Flirty Boss
Flirty bosses aren’t the harassing ones, they are just flirty, touchy, speaky, smiley, texty, sort of people. While most of them have just been that way and mean no harm we should be aware of the ones who cross the line and have their own favorites. This leads to a counterproductive work environment apart from a lack of self-worth or missed career opportunities too.
What can you do about it?
You can’t choose your boss, but you can choose how you react to a bad one.
Not doing anything at all will lead to stress, dejection, and unhappiness. A dreadful day all in all, which no one wants every day and it could happen to the best of us. We need to figure out an optimal way to work with them.
Here are a couple of things you can do as an Individual:
- Continue to be the Performer
- Evaluate the situation, honestly
- Get to know your boss’s communication style and issues
- Make requests instead of giving feedback
- Align both of your expectations, mutually
- Sometimes adopt their perspectives
- Speak up about your challenges
- Separate the problem from the person
- Don’t waste your energy thinking about your crazy boss
- Use Positive reinforcement
- Use this as a learning opportunity
As a HR Professional for your organization, these are things you should do:
- Invest in a “Good Behaviour” Policy
A well-documented policy brings in the necessary commitment to the table. Right from executives, managers, employees to HR personnel, everyone should be committed to having a workplace that encourages good behaviors transparently and addresses challenges in an effective manner. In conclusion, this will have a positive influence on the workplace environment and also on culture. Key aspects in a “Good Behaviour” Policy are as follows :
- What is acceptable?
- What is not acceptable?
- How will the organization encourage acceptable behavior?
- What to do in the case of a concern, whom to reach out to?
- Commitment to protect Confidentiality
- The process of addressing a concern
- The review periodicity of the policy
- Policy owners and stakeholders
- Encourage development programs in areas of Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
Gallup in its research conducted about State of Managers mentions that “only 1 in 10 has the high talent to manage others effectively.” It also says that “Organizations often put people in managerial roles for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent to manage“.
It is well established that not all people have the talent or skill to manage people. Hence the need to prepare employees for the future by having developmental programs around leadership, communication, coaching, mentoring, empathy, emotional intelligence, story-telling, decision making, building powerful teams, influence, change, etc. These programs need not necessarily be in forms of training but could be fireside chats, workshops, outreach activities, certifications, etc. It is beyond doubt that investing in people who may lead tomorrow is not an option but a mandate.
- Undertake periodic assessment surveys
As a business owner myself, I cannot stress enough the need to be proactive. Scientifically proven quarterly or half-yearly assessments can be used to find out the direction and provides the organization ample time to course-correct or set things right before a disaster. If the above seems to be complex, a simple thing for smaller organizations could be anonymous employee surveys asking for feedback about their superiors. If a trend or inconsistency is seen, that’s a tell-tale sign that something needs to be done. Firing is not the only solution therefore may be reserved as the last resort. Primary steps would be to focus on betterment, improvement of the said managers. If nothing works, at least the awareness that such surveys are being conducted will ensure, over a period of time, that organization is looking & rewarding good behavior.
- Create a Support Network
Many times employees may be of opinion that a talk with Human Resources would take things officially and may have negative consequences on the said manager. Having a support network with support champions who are mature, trustworthy, approachable, and have a neutral mindset would go a long way. They could help both the Individuals or Managers who come to them for support. Many times, it is “situations” that create bad behaviors, and having someone to confide or talk to, may help understand how to separate difficult situations from Individual behaviors. At the same time, we need to make sure that this support network shouldn’t become a place for gossip or shoulder for crying or venting out, which would rather have a counterproductive effect.
- Maintain Confidentiality
Confidentiality is the key factor in people opening up and if there is no systematic approach from the organization towards this, distrust, hesitation and anxiety will be prevalent. There are ample ways to ensure this. Some of them are (a) allowing information to be provided anonymously (b) no disclosure of the complainant to anyone other than the recipient, etc. Addressing these items in the organization will ensure there is sufficient protection for the person who stands up and comes forward and will not be treated differently by others. This will also enhance employee’s confidence significantly thereby leading to be better culture.
In conclusion, it is vital that a toxic boss should not be tolerated. A bad boss should be appropriately addressed, and with a boss who bosses too much, we need to undertake specific tasks to make sure you are satisfied and happy about your work/environment.
Finally, we also need to remember just because a boss is being tough on us, is result-oriented or is unlikeable doesn’t necessarily mean he is a toxic or a bad boss. I believe the fact that no problem is unsolvable.