A Best in Class Boss or a Toxic Boss

 

December 26, 2018

965 words  3 minute and 32-second read

First one and then the other

What makes a ‘Best in Class Boss’?

Talentsmart an organization that claims that 75% of Fortune 500 companies use its test on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has conducted research with more than a million people.

They found that the best bosses have characteristics in common.

Dr. Travis Bradbury is the President of Talent Smart and writes articles that appear frequently in LinkedIn.

Before retirement, I always tried to be a ‘good’ boss. Those things that make a good boss are difficult to keep at the top of the mind awareness,

In the heat of a moment, or confronted with a seemly intractable problem or even in a serious discussion managers/bosses tend to make an inevitable mistake.

I think the goal should be: keep your good intentions at the forefront of your mind, practice the correct reactions so that they become a habit, and don’t let the ‘bad’ actions get a foothold in your psyche.

Brush off the ‘bad behavior’ and reset your mind to the tenants of Emotional Intelligence. The newsletter of Emotional Intelligence, Talentsmart is located here.

I have been reading an article about the traits that the ‘best’ bosses seem to possess.

The number one ‘skill’ that “90% of them have in common is the skill at managing their emotions in order to stay focused, calm and productive.”

I have known several men that possess this trait and I have always admired it immensely.

However, I have not been able to shadow that skill. I wonder what the rest of these characteristics are and what they tale they will tell about me.

“Composed”

The premise here is that the ‘best’ bosses constantly monitor their emotions so that they can use this knowledge to react to challenging situations with self-control.

Another ‘not me’ vote. Two strikes.

Once in a while, I was prepared for when the situation went downhill and I managed, at least in my mind, that I handled it with aplomb.

But I have never been able to take the ‘long’ view of events and reacted mainly with short-term actions.

Sometimes when I reflected on the damage that I had already done, I could see a better way.

“Graceful”

A much-admired trait. A combination of strong and gentle. Hmm… I tried to not resort to intimidation, or manipulation because I didn’t enjoy those mind games be played on me.

But to say I was gentle, no I don’t think that was ever said about me.

The people with this trait are “approachable, likable, and easy to get along with.” I guess I have to circle ‘no’ here also.

“Knowledgeable”

The “best” bosses are always trying to increase their ‘self-awareness’. I’m not sure what that means in this context.

How does that apply to spend the time to learn, to have a passion for opportunities to improve and learn new things?

This I did try to do. Maybe not as often as I should have.

“Honest”

Another one that I really tried to follow.

If you lose your honesty and people stopped trusting you, what do you have left to offer?

If you don’t possess and show people your integrity they have nothing else to look for in you.

In addition, Notre Dame did a study that showed that people who lie often experience more mental health problems. But perhaps a better way to explain the phenomenon is to look at the positive side.

People normally lie 1.6 times in 24 hours.

When people learn to lie less (in a 10-week study) they reported feeling better mentally and physically.

“Speak with Certainty”

Another one lost on me a good share of the time.

I tried not to “um”, “I’m not sure” and, “I think”. But I was not as assertive in speaking as the “best bosses” I knew.

“Positive Body Language”

You could often catch me unfolding my arms as I consciously became aware that they were folded across my chest.

I knew this was a defensive action and I would watch out for it.

The same principle applies to eye contact. I watched for that in other people while they spoke to me. Even leaning in a little towards the listener I was aware of but not sure I remembered to use that one either.

“Super successful people ‘ draw others in’. “How you say something can be more important than what you say.”

“Confident”

‘Successful leaders compete for your attention.” How you say something can be more important than what you say.

I was not aware of this one, especially when it is recommended for those times when the efforts would only yield a small victory.

The victory, however small still builds new androgen receptors in the brain. “They are responsible for reward and motivation.

The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges.

“Fearless”

“Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination.” Danger, however, is real.

But fear is not danger. This is interesting “Fear is a choice.” I have never heard that before.

“Grateful”

This I recognize as a trait that I always tried to emulate.

I have always done the tasks that I later end up supervising. I recognize the hard work and ingenuity that is required.

I would much rather celebrate subordinates glory than my own.

I have felt that they need a standing ovation so they can be recognized by higher echelon bosses.

These traits should be self-explanatory to anyone that has toiled in a subordinate position.

I originally wrote this to put out for people to read, discuss and even chuckle over. I am sure former employees will have a great time.

However, I ran into another great article

730 words 2 min 24 sec read

The first article I have had written for years and I haven’t been able to find the exact place where I found it.

The next part I found just before Christmas 2018 and it is a great counterpoint to the above article.

This article was in INC.com written by Marcel Schwantes titled “7 Signs of a Toxic manager that should be stopped immediately.” 

Mr. Schwantes, the Principal, and Founder of “Leadership from the Core” begins his article “I’ve been part of many conversations with executive clients who are quick to blame their employees for bickering and lackluster performance. They get their information, of course, from management teams bickering and complaining about their employees.”

He continues,  “While there’s no quick-fix solution, I tell them, usually the reasons managers aren’t getting the best from smart, creative, and talented employees have to do with job dissatisfaction – common human reactions to unfulfilled work expectations and/or stressful environments – and managers, not employees, are primarily to blame.”

“A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults found that 50 percent of employees left their jobs “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”

I don’t know if that is a reflection on the training that these managers received or if they were just too absorbed in thinking that they were the best gift to the manager corps.

A sign that a person is a good manager is that he or she regularly asks for feedback from their employees in a formal setting such as a performance review or informally while gathering around the water cooler.

If you inspect managers closely and if they prove to be a poor manager, you will find certain negative practices and untrustworthy behaviors that are consistent with the above research findings.

“Seven of the most toxic management behaviors that stifle the human spirit and such the soul out of an organization” are:

1. People are Treated as Objects, not as Human Beings

2. Employees Compete Against Each Other

3. Passive Aggressiveness

4. A Focus on the Negative

5. Stealing the Spotlight

6. Missing in Action

7. Gossiping

While these findings are pretty much self-explanatory I think Mr. Schwantes summarizes each topic succinctly.

  1. “Because compassion and empathy are virtually non-existent, they are treated as an object or expense rather than assets and there is little concern for their happiness or well-being. You will encounter high levels of stress, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout.
  2. Management probably enforces a performance assessment system that focuses on individual performance than team performance. This leads to ‘every employee for himself or herself.
  3. The book “Toxic Workplace” showed that most toxic personalities are passive aggressive. This means that they distrust others and are very territorial and seek to remain in control. This can be seen in employees that never take a vacation for fear others will learn their job and displace them. “They don’t see themselves as the problem.”
  4. Management only looks at the negative actions. They may never give positive feedback and reinforcement for “things that are going right.”
  5. The manager takes all the credit for the work. He or she does not praise the team and offers no celebration of everyone’s success.
  6. When a big problem comes up in a project the manager is nowhere to be found. They take shelter in all day meetings. They are insecure or fear conflict.
  7. The most toxic trait is gossip. It hurts teams because the atmosphere becomes filled with suspicion and distrust. When a boss spreads rumors it is the opposite of what a true human leader would do.

How to solve the problem?

Warren Buffet always looks to character and integrity. He has called ‘integrity the most important trait in hiring, above intelligence.”

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology states that to stop the toxic boss crisis simply promote people with the virtues of moral integrity and goodness into leadership roles.

Bob Sutton, Professor of Organizational Studies at Stanford says that to find out if you are in a toxic workplace:

  1. Are you losing sleep, productivity, and fulfillment of physical and mental health issues?
  2. Are people around you jerks, and that everyone’s performance is suffering?
  3. Are you becoming a jerk and taking out your issues on other people?

I highly recommend signing up for the free newsletters at Inc.com

emotional intelligence Google Images

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

Google Images dual blue roses

 

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