A Bad Boss is Like a Drunk Skunk

A bad boss spews stink like a drunk skunk.

Bad bosses don’t smell their own stink and team members don’t tell them they reek.

A malodorous boss thinks stink is sweet.

Only maleficent bosses intend to cause harm.

Unintended harm feels the same as intentional injury.

A bad boss doesn't smell their own stink. Image of a stubborn kid.

5 ways a bad boss causes harm:

  1. Thinking about the next thing when working on this thing. Lack of presence.
  2. Working without clear goals. Annual goals impact direction. Daily goals impact action.
  3. Wearing a mask instead of practicing transparency. Fakery stinks. Everyone smells a fake and interprets it as hypocrisy.
  4. Building a kingdom at the expense of others.
  5. Communicating poorly. Show me a poor communicator and I’ll show you an incompetent manager.

A bad boss sucks the life out of people.

A bad boss sucks the life out of people. Image of a sleepy bulldog.

6 ways a bad boss can stink less:

#1. Listen to yourself.

Notice the emotional impact of your words.

How do people feel when you walk away? Are you energizing people or does the place stink when you leave?

#2. Admire people.

What do team members do well?

Character is more important than skill. Are they curious, eager to grow, compassionate, hungry to learn, dedicated to success?

Find something to admire about everyone on your team.

#3. Let yourself be seen.

Vulnerability takes you further than hypocrisy.

Share painful parts of your story. What have you learned from failure? How have painful experiences shaped you?

#4. Explain what’s important.

It’s hard to feel energized about meaningless work.

Let people know their efforts serve meaningful ends.

#5. Challenge and support.

Constant challenge discourages.

How are you pouring into people? Let people struggle AND stay available to help.

#6. Seek input.

Learn from the front line.

Better to not-know and encourage input than to know-it-all and shut down talent. Try asking, “What do you think?”

What makes a bad boss stink?

What might a bad boss do to stink less?

Still curious:

Never Let a Bad Boss Control Your Life and Limit Your Career

15 Qualities of Bad Managers