Bad Bosses: Don’t Be One

8 Sep

It’s no surprise that “The Devil Wears Prada,” was a hit, both in book and film format. Anyone who has ever held a job has a story to tell about a boss who could probably rival Prada’s Miranda Priestly, aptly described as “the boss from hell.” The toll those bosses take on the people they manage and the organizations they represent, is impossible to measure, both in terms of dollars and morale. I would guess that bad bosses are the major cause of employee turnover. The number one reason employees leave their jobs is not because of money, it’s because they work for bad bosses and don’t feel valued and appreciated.

Often, people are promoted to leadership positions, not because of their skill in managing people but because they are technically proficient at their current jobs. In many cases, they were never trained on how to be a boss, how to coach employees, and how to encourage superior performance. They don’t understand the importance of morale in improving performance and increasing productivity. Too often people are promoted for all the wrong reasons. They are technically skilled, they have been with the organization for many years, or they are friends with the boss. None of these is a valid reason for promoting someone. Why? None of them has anything to do with leadership skills. Instead, organizations should promote those people who are skilled, self-motivated, and are willing to learn, then train them. Good people skills are a critical trait for a good boss. No one is born with the skills necessary to lead people. They must be trained in how to motivate, recognize—and, yes, even reprimand—employees, all in an effort to form a cohesive and effective team. These are skills that must be taught and reinforced.


  • Train yourself—and your employees

Read books on management, buy training programs or enroll in workshops and seminars that will help you become the type of leader you would like to work for. Train your employees—when you invest the time and money to do so, you are letting them know that you value them.

  • Communicate clearly and regularly

Employees perform best when they know exactly what is expected of them and are given feedback that is specific, sincere, and timely. Two-way communication is important. When you let employees know that you are willing to listen to what they have to say, they will open up to you—and who knows what wonderful ideas they might have to share.

  • Treat your employees with respect

Employees, no matter how menial the job or low the pay, deserve to be treated with respect.

  • Recognize employees’ contributions

People need to be caught doing great things. Too often, the only time employees are recognized are when they make a mistake. But, if you make it a point to praise them—and do so in public—they will continue to work hard for you. People are hungry for recognition and will accomplish significantly more if they receive it on a regular basis. 

  • Motivate your employees

Too many managers think money is the ultimate motivator; it isn’t. Nothing is more effective in motivating an employee than a pat on the back, a simple ‘thank you,’ or a public word of praise.

  • Coach your employees

If you want to have a winning team, you must coach each member. You must nurture them. Recognize their strengths and help them to improve on their weaknesses. When you treat employees with respect, communicate openly and honestly, and coach them to do the best job possible, you not only will be a good boss, but you will increase your chances of being promoted to even higher positions within the organization. It’s a win/win situation.

John Tshcohl -described by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a customer service guru – is also an International strategist and speaker. He can be contacted at

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