Bad bosses have always existed in the workplace.
But there are traits of bad bosses that are unexpected and more insidious, according to Kevin Legg, the founder of Sage, a company that helps design and develop training curriculums at work.
The traits in question: undermanaging, over-talking and faux friendliness.
“All these traits not only seem harmless, but even desired by many employees,” said Legg, who has 20 years of experience in corporate professional learning.
“After all, who wouldn’t want a boss who likes to leave you to your own devices? What’s wrong with a leader who acts more like a mate than a boss? A leader who talks a bit too much during meetings can be a bit irritating for sure, but … there are worse traits a boss can have, right?”
But these traits can often have negative implications for team cohesion, morale, respect and efficiency, Legg added, especially during “periods of high stress.”
“When difficult decisions need to be made, the overly friendly boss will lack the credibility to make those decisions,” he explained.
“The undermanager will experience decision paralysis, making a bad situation even worse. The over-talker will suddenly find his or her instructions fall on deaf ears [because] employees stopped listening a long time ago.”
Employees hate micromanaging but for Legg, undermanaging is the more common vice.
“To make matters worse, bad bosses are continually making a virtue out of undermanagement … [by saying, for example] ‘My people can come to me if they need me – my door is open,'” he added.
That’s what the “lazy boss who lacks the courage or work ethic to really coach and lead” would say, according to Legg.