The path to becoming a well respected boss is a notoriously precarious one. Being able to encourage a healthy work/life balance in employees, making them feel valued and trying to keep everyone engaged is a tough ask for any manager.


So, what are the signs of a bad boss? And, more importantly, if you recognise any of these signs in yourself, what can you do about it?


Taking credit for everything
As a manager, it’s your job to make sure that each employee’s hard work is not channelled into an ego-boosting reflection of your own management skills. Their hard work should directly reflect the team effort. It’s not all about you. Make sure that you credit your employees sufficiently and accordingly. Not doing so can be have disastrous effects on employee morale, motivation and productivity. Your employers will not be any more impressed that you’ve ‘carried the team’. If you give the credit where it is due, then you can recognise and reward each individual effort. Crediting the employees demonstrates that your team are working well under you and that, together, you are all a well-oiled machine.


Unrealistic expectations
Remember, your employees have feelings. They don’t work at all well when they are swamped under several metric tons of paperwork and overtime. If anything, they really suffer in these conditions. Make every attempt to get to know your employees on an individual level and build your team around the strengths of each person. To employees, it can often feel like managers don’t care for their needs and dump seemingly endless piles of work on them. As well as ensuring that overarching company goals are clear, make sure that the objective of each task is clarified. Large or tasks that may be considered daunting should be divided amongst your team into ‘bite-size chunks’. If you keep tasks small and frequent, you should see a boost in morale as employees feel they are hitting many targets and consistently improving. This will also give you more frequent opportunities give recognition and rewards to them.


The phrase ‘freedom to work’ often gets used around many culturally modernised workplaces. Lurking over your employee’s shoulder, constantly undermining work and disrupting the flow of creativity and innovation will not help productivity. If everything must be controlled and monitored to fit your own ego-inflated agenda, this is a big red flag. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that the top need in every individual is ‘self actualisation’, where they are able to reach their own potential. Allowing them the freedom and confidence to work on new ideas and hone their skills is crucial. Refusing to delegate work, being involved in too many projects and not trusting your employees to deliver results will quickly consume you. Make sure you trust your employee’s skills and let them get on with the job they’ve been hired to do.


Abusing power
As a manager, it’s vital that you never abuse your position by nonchalantly dishing out threats or inappropriate comments to staff. Employees go to work to work, not to be bullied or belittled. This will do nothing but spiral yours and your company’s reputation down the toilet. We understand that not every working environment is the same and deadlines and stress can wreak havoc on a team. It is vital, however, to remain calm and collected – ensuring emotions and stress does not affect your relationship with employees. If you find yourself feeling very stressed, seek help, you’re not alone.


Never giving praise
When an employee does something remarkable, ensure you recognise their efforts. Often, a simple thank you on a job well done can go a long way. In our recent surveys, when employees were asked what would make them feel more valued in the workplace, 48% of employees said a simple ‘thank you’ would suffice. 72% of employees also stated that they would work harder if they were appreciated. It is important to say thanks in a timely manner, and to provide recognition and rewards when an employee goes above and beyond. Again, looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, being paid is not thanks, it’s a basic need. In order for employees to reach their full potential, it’s also important that their ‘esteem’ needs are met – where they feel a sense of accomplishment.


Not providing support, training or opportunity
Employees should always feel that they have the full support of their employer. Almost every employee wants to progress in their career, so it’s important that they are given the opportunity to do so and are given adequate support and training. Studies indicate that employees need and want more training. A study by the Middlesex University for Work Based Learning said that 74% of respondents felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. Take the time to understand each employee’s long-term goals and consider how you can help them achieve these goals. When tasks are set, also ensure you a take the time to clearly outline what needs to be done and how to do it. Ensure you make yourself available for questions. If an employee does not know what they are supposed to do, very often it’s because it hasn’t been explained to them properly. Never criticise an employee for asking too many questions or asking for support and training.


Considering the fact that employee turnover costs companies billions every year it is vital to look after your company’s most important asset. Victor Lipman, ex-manager and Forbes contributor states that ‘People leave managers, not companies’. A Gallup survey of engagement found that between 60-70% of a 350,000 person study are ‘disengaged’ and it is management that bear the brunt of the loss in motivation. Offering simple recognition and rewards are proven to help alleviate the burden of lack of motivation and can inspire your team.


From the statistics, we can see that we need to care for our staff now more than ever. Praise doesn’t have to come in the form of hefty financial rewards. It can be as a simple ‘thank you’ and letting them know that the company has their best interests at heart.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. EAP Assist