Most of us have worked for at least one Horrible Boss (HB).

Why do they act that way? It takes as much effort to be not so nice, as it does to be a great person. This normally stems from lack of confidence or the need to micromanage. For some reason, HB feels compelled to control everything.


Here are a few signs you work for a horrible boss. If you’re the HB, I offer a few “1 Degree” changes you can make based on The Leadership Challenge model and the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.


Fear Factor

The HB threatens there’s going to be hell to pay if you don’t shape up! They put down people in public, hoping to instill fear to increase performance. The fact of the matter is, because of your leadership style, the team is doing the minimum. They’re doing just enough to keep their jobs until a new one comes along.

1 Degree Change – If you’re the leader, and have a problem with a constituent, meet with them one on one to find out what’s getting in the way. Be empathetic. Do they have all the tools they need to win? Are you Enabling Others to Act? Make sure to equip your people so they can operate at their highest level. Everyone has an “A” game, make it a goal to bring out the best in each player.


All Talk and No Action

HB constantly boasts about all the changes they’re going to make and never follows through. When the team asks how they’re going to make these changes happen, HB makes one excuse after another. Yet, the moment a constituent doesn’t follow through, HB is the first one to complain.

1 Degree Change – As the leader, your team is watching everything you say and do. Your credibility factor is being scrutinized 24/7. Are you Modeling the Way? Each day, set a personal example as to what’s expected. Do What You Say You Will Do DWYSYWD.


Where’s the Kudos?

HB wants everyone to operate at the top of their game, day in and day out. HB will pounce on you like a cheetah on a slow gazelle the moment things don’t go as planned. On the other hand, when you do a stellar job, HB says things like “What’s next?” or “It’s about time!” or “That was an easy one.”

1 Degree Change – People like to be stroked when they do a good job. In The Leadership Challenge program it’s called Encourage the Heart. Everyone likes to be rewarded in their own way. For some it’s a plaque, others it’s a gift certificate, and some team members prefer a simple thank you in private.

Studies show the number one reason people leave organizations is because of their managers. They’re stressed and can’t stand their HB. If you think you’re a HB, start implementing these one degree changes today. Your team will be glad you did.

Have you ever worked for a HB? How did you handle the situation? Please comment below. Thanks.


Share This