3 unexpected traits of bad bosses and signs of ‘dysfunction,’ according to a workplace expert

Bad bosses have always been present in the workplace, exhibiting various toxic traits such as being overly demanding and critical or micromanaging their employees. However, according to Kevin Legg, founder of Sage, there are some unexpected and insidious traits that can make a boss bad. These traits include undermanaging, over-talking, and faux friendliness.

Undermanaging is when a boss neglects their managerial duties and leaves their employees to their own devices. While this may seem desirable to some employees, it can have negative implications for team cohesion, morale, respect, and efficiency, particularly during periods of high stress. Without active guidance and support from their boss, junior staff may struggle to self-direct their work, leading to dysfunction within the team. Furthermore, when promotions and development opportunities arise, resentment may arise among employees who were never given the necessary guidance and support to meet the expected standards.

The boss who over-talks is someone who believes they are the smartest person in the room and loves to hear themselves talk. They often dominate meetings with lengthy monologues, making it difficult for employees to contribute their own insights and opinions. This behavior can create a culture of silence where employees stop speaking up and stop taking their boss seriously. As a result, valuable advice and experiences from the boss may be disregarded along with excessive talking.

An ultra-nice boss, one who tries to be overly friendly with their employees, can also be detrimental to the workplace. When a boss lacks the necessary tools to navigate the power dynamics between themselves and their employees, they may resort to treating their staff as peer-level buddies rather than maintaining a professional relationship. This lack of clear boundaries can lead to confusion among employees and make it harder for the boss to make difficult decisions or requests. Additionally, when employees start seeing their boss as a friend, it can create a situation where professional outcomes are based on personal favors rather than merit, undermining the integrity of the decision-making process.

While working under bosses with these undesirable traits can be challenging, employees can learn valuable lessons from these experiences. It gives them the opportunity to learn what not to do when they become managers themselves. By recognizing the negative impact of traits like over-talking or undermanaging, future leaders can adjust their own behavior and become more effective managers. They can prioritize active involvement in their team's professional development, hold regular feedback meetings, and maintain a professional yet cordial relationship with their team.

Overall, understanding the negative implications of traits like undermanaging, over-talking, and faux friendliness can help employees become better leaders in the future by avoiding these behaviors and adopting more effective managerial practices.  

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