September 13th, 2017


bad leaders

I found this in my notes and can't find where I posted it to lj - it's possible I never did. I have a giant notepad file on my desktop where I jot down ideas. Sometimes I just need time to pass for everything to gel. Sometimes I'm writing about a very specific event, and I want it to pass so nobody can pin down exactly which event/place/person I'm writing about.

But this is one I don't want to lose. They say you learn about leadership from examples - both good and bad. Great leaders are exceptional at absorbing lessons. They learn from everyone. They learn just as much from bad bosses.

Well in my career I've had both good and bad bosses. And even when I had a great direct boss, I could see others around him - above him, or dotted line, or dotted line to me - who were not great so he was held back and therefore I was held back too. So I started this list. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Ten things that bad leaders do:

1) Pick tiny pet projects to fixate on and send everyone scrambling for that one little piece, rather than seeing the big picture.

2) If their boss yells at them they yell at you. They do no buffering, filtering, channeling or absorption.

3) If people are enthusiastic about the project, they find a way to squelch it.

4) If conflicting goals come up between groups, they casually tell you to work it out. They don't stick up for anyone. They tell each group to do whatever it takes to get their little part done, creating a constant multi-way battle for their love.

5) The goals and priorities change hourly.

6) They refuse to make any individual contributions on principle. They don't produce anything.

7) They want to know every detail and get very angry if they aren't kept in the loop. Even if you complete a task on time, they might still get mad because it happened without them knowing every step along the way.

8) They never praise anyone. If the team accomplishes a big milestone, the closure passes by quietly, there's never a confirmation that all our hard work paid off.

9) They ask you what you're working on in order to get an idea for what to harass you about later. You feel like you're working in an echo chamber.

10) They don't advertise their plan. They make people sit and wait on ideas that could improve the product because they have a secret priority they don't want to let anyone in on.