So, you want to be a CEO? Here’s what not to do

If you’re aiming to take the number one leadership role in your organisation, new data around what makes a ‘bad boss’, should inform you of exactly what not to do if you want that top spot. By Leah Lambart.

 Recent data from employment company Seek found that 71% of Kiwi workers who have encountered a ‘bad boss’ in their working life, have left a role as a result.

 While the majority of hirers surveyed in Seek’s recent research rate themselves at least a seven out of 10 in terms of being a ‘good boss’, 70% of Kiwis say they have previously dealt with a ‘bad boss’, suggesting a disconnect between employee and manager perceptions.

 Seek’s career coach, Leah Lambart explains the reasons behind employees labelling their manager as a ‘bad boss’.

 Having a bad boss, or a boss who’s a bad fit for you, can greatly impact an employee’s happiness and performance at work, as well as the wider organisational culture. As a manager, it’s crucial to understand not only your own working style but also the working style and type of leadership style that works best for each of your employees.

According to Seek data, employees commonly label their manager as a ‘bad boss’ for several reasons. The most prevalent reason, cited by 43% of respondents, is when bosses never admit to their mistakes.

This is closely followed by bosses:

  • Not recognising efforts or achievements (42%).
  • Talking down and being condescending (40%).
  • Micromanaging (39%).
  • Not treating employees equally/showing favouritism (38%).

Working under a bad boss can have significant flow-on effects, including leading to decreased wellbeing, hindering career development and increasing employee stress levels.

In fact, according to Seek data, 74% of people who have worked under a bad boss have wanted to leave because of it. Additionally, 69% reported that it negatively affected their overall wellbeing and more than half (57%) experienced stress when going to work.

Therefore, it is clear that having a supportive and effective boss is crucial for a positive work experience.

Leah Lambart

What can readers, as leaders, do to ensure their staff don’t consider them a bad boss?

 Despite the fact that 61% of people have experienced a bad boss at some point in their careers, most managers consider themselves to be good bosses, with the average self-rating of 8.5 out of 10.

While traits like being supportive (identified by 91% of respondents), flexible (82%), hardworking (76%) and personable (62%) are important for being a good boss, it’s equally important for leaders to understand the traits that employees believe contribute to being a bad boss, as mentioned earlier.

Employees highly value a leader who can take responsibility for their mistakes. However, according to Seek data, only a third of people (32%) claim their boss is always accountable.

“As a leader, it is crucial to take time for self-reflection and honestly assess your own leadership style…”

As a leader, it is crucial to take time for self-reflection and honestly assess your own leadership style. Ask yourself if you exhibit any of the common negative traits associated with being a bad boss.

Seeking feedback from peers or direct reports can be valuable in evaluating your leadership style and identifying any areas for improvement. Utilising 360-degree feedback assessment tools can provide an honest evaluation of how you are perceived by others, allowing you to compare it with your own assessment.

This type of tool can quickly highlight any blind spots that may need further reflection and possible coaching to rectify.

By actively seeking feedback, reflecting on your leadership style and addressing any perceived negative traits, you can demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement as a leader while creating an honest, positive and supportive work environment.

Tips for leaders around taking a good, hard look at their own management style and how it might be perceived by their staff.

 A leadership style is simply a method of leading or guiding people. It’s a way of acting when placed in the role of a leader, and styles can be very different, with some being very strict and controlling whilst other styles are more collaborative and laid-back.

While being a manager often comes with a high level of responsibilities, it’s important to prioritise mentoring and support for your employees. According to Seek data, a majority of people (84%) believe that a bad boss directly impacts workplace culture.

“By prioritising mentoring and support, you can create a positive tone…”

By prioritising mentoring and support, you can create a positive tone and foster a supportive work environment.

As a manager, it can take some time to develop a leadership style that is the right approach for everyone in the team and, in some cases, it may be necessary to adopt slightly different styles of leadership for different people or in different circumstances.

To avoid being labelled as a ‘bad boss’, it is necessary for managers to get to know the preferred working style and personality of each of their staff to better understand what motivates every individual and what style will get the most out of each team member.

Once a manager has established the leadership style that will work best for each individual, practice and repetition will assist in developing that style. Consistency in your approach will build trust and confidence among your team.

And finally, regularly reflect on what is or isn’t working in your management style and seek feedback from your employees to gain insights into how your leadership is perceived. This feedback will help you identify areas for improvement and gain support from your team.

Leah Lambart is Seek’s career coach.


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