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7 signs of a scary monster boss

Jan 05, 2023
By: Tom Cox

Haunted houses, roller coasters, extreme sports — all scary things that create an adrenaline rush that’s fun. Being scared isn’t always fun, though.

Have you thought lately about how you make your employees feel? You don’t want them to say, “My boss is scary.” The adrenaline rush you might be giving them with your actions may not be so fun.

Here are seven signs of a scary monster boss:

  1. You never listen to your employees: Take the time to ask open-ended questions to your team so you can hear what’s really happening. Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions. You want to get the truth.
  2. You threaten employees: While you want to be clear about gaps in performance, a threatening tone is not the way to go. Remember that it is much better to improve performance through effective management, and retaining employees is preferable to losing them.
  3. You only manage up, not down: You have to look both directions at all times. You’re responsible for making your team better.
  4. You ask employees a zillion questions about every single project or decision: You need to work in the big picture and trust your employees to do their jobs. If there is a training issue, that’s another problem, but you should set people free to do their work in their own way.
  5. You don’t explain a clear vision: Expecting others to execute and be accountable, but not being clear is problematic.
  6. You do things that your staff should be doing without consulting them first: You should be delegating, not executing every single task.
  7. You take yourself too seriously and never laugh or having fun. Are you human or not?

When you’re doing these scary things, you aren’t leading or necessarily even managing people. Your employees will be less engaged, leading to a whole host of other problems and not operating at peak performance.

An effective leader needs to ensure that employees are comfortable and motivated in their roles and given clear responsibilities and measurements. While you don’t want to be the fairy godmother of the organization, don’t be the scary villain either.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli’s leadership development programs help leaders at every level cultivate a leadership mindset that empowers others to thrive. Learn more about how we help clients with people, process and strategy on our organizational performance consulting web page.

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Tom Cox
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