The most crucial test of a boss is self-awareness. The best bosses are in tune with how the little things they say and do impact people, and they are adept at adjusting to bolster both performance and dignity. Several studies, including one by the College Board, suggest that the more incompetent a boss is, the more out of touch he or she is likely to be.
Unfortunately, too many bosses think they are in tune with their employees, but live in a fool’s paradise. If you’re a boss, you should review this list of the top eleven attitudes to figure out if you’re acting like a bad boss.
1. “I am going to get mine.” Let’s face it, you deserve to get more goodies and get them first. After all, without you, your underlings would be nowhere.
2. Ride them hard. You keep a close eye on your people because, otherwise, they screw around and screw-up.
3. All transmission and no reception. You pretend to listen to others somtimes; but you are really just “reloading,” thinking of the brilliant thing you are going to say next.
4. No thanks. You don’t baby your employees with all that insincere manners crap. Saying “please” and “thank you” is overrated, wastes a lot of time, and makes you look like you kissing-up to your subordinates.
5. Do it right or don’t do it. When your people make mistakes, you make sure they pay a steep price.
6. Mistakes were made, but not by me. You are so good that you rarely mess-up. Anyway, a smart boss doesn’t display ignorance, admit mistakes, or apologize – that’s what doormats and wimps do.
7. Credit hog. After all, when your people do something good, it is because of you.
8. Kiss up or shut-up. You despise underlings who challenge your ideas and point out your mistakes.
9. Star lover. You focus your energy on hiring, grooming, and encouraging your very best employees. After all, the B players are far less important and a lot easier to replace.
10. Implementation is for the little people. Your job is to develop and talk about big ideas, not to waste time thinking about all the little steps required to make them happen.
11. I don’t how it feels to be you and I don’t care. It’s not my job to hold your hand or understand what it feels like to work for me. I am your boss, not your mommy or daddy.
If you’re an employee with a boss, you should take my survey called the BRASS (Boss Reality Assessment Survey System). It will help you determine if your work for a bad boss. Or, as Guy Kawasaki likes to put it, if you work for a certified brasshole.
Bob Sutton is professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. He is the author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t and his latest book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best…and Learn from the Worst is going to kick some management butt. His blog is Work Matters.