3 Leadership Styles Good Bosses Avoid Like The Plague

It’s not crazy to think that you’ll become a leader in some capacity within your lifetime, whether a middle manager, senior director or even a CEO. This advance is likely to be accompanied by the following: a bump in salary, a title change and most importantly, increased responsibility.

People often forget about that last part when they’re dreaming of titles. But let me tell you, it isn’t easy. Leading others is a big undertaking in which you need to be able to manage not only your own tasks, but your employees’ workloads and goals, as well as the team dynamic, too. With so many things to keep track of, it’s easy to become one of those bosses no one can stand. (And I know that in your head you’re picturing one of those people right now and getting annoyed.)

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, President at TalentSmart and co-author ofEmotional Intelligence 2.0, being managed by someone who really isn’t good at it can be a deal breaker. Says Bradberry, “Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.”

So if you’d like to steer clear of your employees calling it quits because of you, try to avoid the following management styles.

1. The Know-It-All

Yes, you were chosen for a reason. But that reason is not because you know everything about everything. No matter what your title is, there’s always something to learn. Especially from your own team who works day in and day out on your part of the business. They’re likely to have smart and innovative solutions and ideas–possibly to problems you’re not even aware exist.

“Being the best isn’t about knowing the most. Being the best is about confidently admitting you don’t know it all, while embracing every opportunity to learn and grow from the wisdom of others. Have confidence in your ability to learn, not in the amount of information you already know. Always remember that wisdom comes from gaining knowledge and experience over the course of time—not a day or a week—but over a lifetime, so never stop learning,” says Amy Rees Anderson, Managing Partner of REES Capital.

When someone you manage (or anyone, really) has a better idea than you or knows something you don’t, that’s not a bad thing. It actually makes your job easier, because you don’t have to have all the answers.

2. The Micromanager

Managing people can be daunting—the performance of your team reflects directly back on you. And this may tempt you to hold their hands every single step of the way to ensure the job is done right.

But this is a major productivity roadblock. When you spend a good portion of your time breathing down their necks, you’re limiting the amount of time you can dedicate to your own work. Not to mention, it also puts you at risk for losing track of the big picture.

As Eytan Dallal, Vice President of IT at Land of Lincoln Health explains, “Managers should delegate and manage from a distance. Employees should be held accountable for their decisions and work product, and need to be empowered with the ability to own their decisions and take risks. Most importantly, employees need managers to stand behind them, not on top of them.”

That means that if you insist on standing on top of them, you’re likely stifling their creativity, making them feel incompetent and just plain bugging the crap out of them. None of this is fun—and you’ll just end up with a bunch of annoyed and disengaged individuals.

3. The Absentee Boss

Sure, managers should manage from a distance, as Dallal said, but that doesn’t mean you should disappear completely.

It may be nice at first to have a boss who never checks in, but after a while, having a supervisor who is never seen nor heard gets old. Employees want and deserve a certain degree of autonomy, yes, but they also want and need guidance, feedback and validation that they are on the correct path.

Being MIA can only really result in one of two situations—your employees feel unsupported and don’t know where to go, so they halt progress and do nothing. Or, they decide to move forward sans your input, everything goes haywire and you have no way to explain it to your boss. Neither is good.


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