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Are you a Bad Boss or Leader in your Business?

We’ve all been there at one time or another in the course of our work history. Having a boss that well, not only behaves like a boss, but like a micro managing control freak. The boss that lacks empathy, creativity or even just common sense. Or the boss whose ego is so big he or she takes credit for everything that is good and blames everyone else for anything that goes wrong even when it is due to their own negligence.

A friend I hadn’t seen in awhile just shared another bad boss story as we caught up over coffee and homemade frittatas.

I noticed my somatic sensations as she relayed story after story about a boss that not only is not able to support his employees, but in fact creates obstacle after obstacle to help them be productive and function as a cohesive team. By her description, this boss fits the definition of toxic - taking everyone down with him with devastating consequences to productivity and morale, but also to people’s health and wellbeing.

If you own a business and have any employees, this message is for you! You can create a toxic micromanaging “no one wants to be here - I’m just collecting a paycheck” workplace culture, or, you can sharpen your leadership skills and start behaving like a leader instead.

Good leadership starts with self introspection. It is the ability to look inside oneself and examine what is there. Are you someone who shows up with compassion, curiosity and is able to actively listen? How are your communication skills? How are you at assessing the strengths of each member of your staff, and providing opportunities for them to hold positions that utilize their strengths for their own good and the good of the company?

How are you at serving your staff, being aware of both the needs of your company as well as the needs of your people?

When is the last time you did an ego check? You can get a lot of “ego information” by starting to tune into your language. Is there a lot of Me vs We in your communication?

When you are asking for something, is it more about the outcome that would be best for the company, your people and the people you serve, or is it about what benefit YOU will derive?

Employees know instinctively when they work for someone that cares about them, in addition to caring for the company and its sustainability and profitability.

They also know when they feel devalued, demeaned, discarded or manipulated.

No one truly wants to work in an environment where they feel any of those feelings.

If you are looking for a major change in your business or organization this year, start with an “internal inspection” first. Examine your ego, motives, character, ability to care, be curious open minded and flexible, and your ability to communicate well including sharing appreciation for what your people are doing well.

That is the beginning of transforming your workplace culture from something stressful, dysfunctional and toxic into something that everyone can move, breathe, produce and feel good about.

Not sure where to begin? Try talking with a trusted partner, employee or client. Ask them how they truly experience you. In other words, get some real feedback. Do not rely on formal reviews where people often feel that they cannot speak their truth without some repercussion.

Have candid one on one conversations to ask your people how they feel about how you approach them, how they generally feel at work, if they feel supported and appreciated…

That is a good start providing you are able to actually listen with curiosity (and not defend).

Ultimately, it often takes the intervention of a skilled business coach or consultant if you find your ship is feeling upside down. They can help you right the ship and send it sailing in the direction it needs to go to benefit both people and profits.

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