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Learn From the Mistakes of Not-So-Great-Bosses

If you’ve been working in schools for any length of time, you’ve probably worked for a not-so-great-boss. You’ve witnessed first-hand how a boss can negatively impact a department or a whole school.

In their great book, “How to Become a Great Boss”, Gino Wickman and Rene Boer suggest the following symptoms of Not-So-Great-Bosses.

Create confusion
They tell you what to do but not why it’s important.

Never has time for you
They don’t take time to answer questions or share information you need to do a good job.

They take on tasks that they’ve hired you to do and don’t allow you to learn from your mistakes.

Puts themselves first
They take credit when things go right and lay blame when things go wrong.

Is inconsistent
They communicate a “my way or the highway” message without stating clear expectations.

Overuses email and texting
They avoid having face-to-face dialogue to resolve issues.

Holds ineffective meetings
They call ad hoc meetings that are filled with discussion and little resolution.

Infrequently reviews performance
They give feedback once a year leaving you guessing for the other 364 days.

Rarely shows appreciation
They don’t say thank you or recognise you when you’ve done a great job

According to Wickman and Boer, not-so-great-bosses display a lack of capacity in at least one of the following four areas.

Low Emotional Capacity
These bosses are usually oblivious to the signals being sent to them by their staff and how their behaviour impacts others. At best, they make a superficial connexion with their people.

Low Intellectual Capacity
These bosses lack ability to visualise an outcome before taking a course of action. They tend to set objectives without anticipating the resources needed to achieve the goals. They lack mental agility, over analysing some things and oversimplifying others.

Low Physical Capacity
These bosses lack the stamina and energy necessary to see tasks through to completion. They rarely leave the office to inspect what they expect. They are unable or unwilling to do the hard work, to get their hands dirty and to pitch in when needed.

Low Time Capacity
These bosses are usually a whirl of activity who rob time from others while using theirs to pursue things that are “in the moment”. They expect others to drop what they’re doing to help them. They are late for meetings, behind schedule and often overwhelmed.

“Bad bosses drive their employees and eventually their best customers away. They feel threatened by people smarter, more capable or motivated than them. They are unwilling to confront real issues or make unpopular decisions. They run from conflict. They are quick to point out flaws in others while ignoring their own.”

Gino Wickham & Rene Boer, How To Be A Great Boss