Are You a Bad Boss? 10 Crappy CEO Behaviors to Curb

Here are ten CEO behaviors to curb, immediately and ensure you're not standing in the way of anyone's happy place.

“I have decided who I want to be our new Vice President of Sales — me!” Kevin Spacey, who plays Dave Harken, proudly exclaims in the 2011 comedy, Horrible Bosses. The storyline reveals extreme antics behind what three employees deem to be ‘horrible bosses’ standing in the way of their happiness.

While your co-founders and employees may not have reached a tipping point of desperation, your management style could be the leading culprit of decreased team morale, poor performance and overall company culture and workplace discontent.

Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, has said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. Above all else, though, good leaders are open. They go up, down, and around their organization to reach people.” And while no small business owner wants to be considered a ‘bad leader’ you simply may not be aware that you’re exemplifying common crappy behaviors.

So, as you set out to become a truly great leader, here are ten CEO behaviors to curb, immediately and ensure you’re not standing in the way of anyone’s happy place.


1. Negativity

“I had a manager who told me I was so pale, I should kill myself. Yep.” —Kerry (Source: Cosmopolitan)

Are you knowingly or unknowingly contributing to workplace negativity? “Negativity takes on many forms including lying, slander, deceit, selfishness and pessimism. When a negative workplace is allowed to persist, it can begin to affect everyone in the company,” according to Houston Chronicle writer, Arnold Anderson.

If you find yourself dealing with “feeling(s) of anger, fear, nervousness, depression, anxiety, [a] complaining attitude, pessimism, selfishness, arrogance, jealousy, and vindictiveness at times,” then you are facing negativity, according to a workplace negativity study. When faced with these challenges, take some time to yourself, think before you speak, and calm down before reacting negatively to people and situations.


2. Noncommittal

As a leader you may expect your team to work hard and produce quality work, but don’t forget to lead by example. If you consistently arrive to work late, remain cooped up in your office with the door closed and spend your days on Skype while everyone in your office is on the grind — respect will wane. Build trust with employees by showing them you are truly committed to them and your business.


3.  No Compassion

“I had asked for my birthday off months in advance. My boss said it was fine so I made plans for that day. Then right before, he threatened to fire me if I didn’t come into work!” —Lauren (Source: Cosmopolitan)

If you’re relentlessly focused on profits and quarterly earnings it is easy to forget that your employees are actual people with lives, families, hobbies, and outside obligations. Life happens! So having compassion and empathy is a great leadership trait to acquire.

In a University of Michigan study, researchers found that compassion in the workplace has a “‘cascading effect,’ whereby experiencing compassion at work generates positive emotion and, in turn, shapes employees’ long-term attitudes and behaviors.” When you show that you truly care about the lives of their employees, your team will be happier and in turn, become more productive.


4. Blaming Others

American political theorist and activist Thomas Paine said it best: “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” As a leader of your business, the buck starts and stops with you. In fact, personal accountability is essential to your future success.

If you make a mistake, be humble enough to admit to it instead of placing blame on someone else. At the same time, if you observe workplace issues, be bold enough to take necessary steps to address them. Never be afraid to speak up for what is right — for the good of your employees and your company.


5. Dishonesty

Ben Franklin has been attributed to saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” This is especially true for entrepreneurs. “The future success of managers and leaders center on their ability to develop and sustain the levels of trust in an organization and its leadership,” according to The Skills Portal, and “To ensure trust levels are maintained there needs to be transparency, openness and honesty in every respect. [Leaders] have a responsibility to make sure a code of ethics exists and more importantly that they adhere to this specific code in all of their dealing with their staff and customers.”


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