We’ve all had crummy bosses – and if you haven’t had one yet, you will. It’s just something that comes with having a few jobs. While there’s a lot you can learn from having a boss who isn’t cut out to be a leader, those lessons typically aren’t the first thoughts that come to mind when you look back on a frustrating boss. You’re probably muttering angrily to yourself and sighing a lot, not soaking up life lessons.
In my search for awesome job-seeker content, I’ve found a number of articles I’d love to send to an old boss or two, but that’s not the only reason I’ve hung onto them. If we’re lucky, we might be in their shoes someday, but we don’t have to wait until then to start honing our skills.
Remember: You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader.
Before you print these articles out and staple them to any closed office doors, read them for yourself. You may learn a thing or two. (Also, consider using tape instead.)
1. Fear doesn’t really work as a motivational technique – and it takes on a life of its own in an organization. “Some leaders believe that a little fear actually keeps everyone on their toes,” says Laurie K. Cure of Innovative Connections, Inc., a consulting company that focuses on organizational effectiveness. “I maintain the belief that creating safe, open work environments is a better way to ensure innovation, creativity and productivity.”
Why Fear Doesn’t Create Accountability via Intuit
Lesson: Fear can be stifling. Transparency and respect are more powerful leadership tools.
2. Be tough on problems, not on the people helping you solve them. Yes, you’ll have to make some difficult decisions but this doesn’t mean you should be difficult to deal with. Inspire your team – don’t terrify them. “This is being ‘soft.’ The tone you set will reverberate through the culture of your organization.”
A crash course in leadership… via Fast Company
Lesson: Working side-by-side with people to solve problems will work. Raising your voice and losing your cool won’t really help.
3. Make sure everyone is on the same page – both company leaders and employees. If everyone is working together toward a common goal, a company can thrive. “Direct and open communication is essential for this.” Need another reason? This style of communication will “facilitate trust between [the] employee and workplace.”
What makes a workplace a ‘Great Place?’ via Fortune Magazine
Lesson: Focus on open and transparent communication. It will keep everyone engaged.
4. More money isn’t the only way to keep your employees happy. In fact, they’ll probably be able to tell you what they’d change or what would keep them from checking out. A little bit of feedback can go a long way.
Seven Ways to Increase Employee Satisfaction… via Forbes
Lesson: Don’t hesitate – or wait – to ask your employees for feedback. It’s still one of the best ways to grow as an individual and improve your workplace.
5. Make better decisions. “Every single one of us can benefit from taking a step back to review the ways in which we make important decisions,” especially if we’re in a position where we have to make those judgments every day. Don’t let the short-term repercussions hold you back; focus on the bigger picture when you’re making your choices. And don’t go it alone!
4 Steps to Make Better Choices in 2014 via Open Forum
Lesson: Making good decisions is a challenge all of us face – but it doesn’t have to be so challenging. If you’ve surrounded yourself with the best group possible, they’ll be able to help.
6. Identify future leaders and start getting them ready for the next step – it’s one of the most important, fulfilling things you can do. And maybe it wasn’t in your job description but… yeah, it’s your job. “Your leadership and your organization can reach great heights when you put the effort and time into developing leaders.”
Developing leaders: It’s your job via SmartBlog
Lesson: A focus on coaching and mentoring can take your team to the next level. As an added bonus, you can attract better candidates and improve your bottom line. Who doesn’t want to do that?