November 6, 2012

Why Bad Bosses are Killing Your Business

If you have worked for more than three bosses, odds are you’ve had at least one “bad boss.”  According to the press, bad bosses are responsible for global warming (lots of hot air, or something), increases in auto insurance rates (employees speeding to work), and most of what troubles our society.  Most people think of bad bosses in terms of their impact on the employees’ morale and job satisfaction.  The impact of bad bosses goes much deeper than that.


To us, a bad boss…

  • consistently underperforms expectations, falling short of the required results.

  • does not provide an acceptable explanation and plan to improve sub-par performance.describe the image

  • does not anticipate issues and opportunities for the Organization (not proactive).

  • does not accept personal responsibility for all functions s/he is responsible for, regardless of performance.

Just as a great sports team player makes the whole team perform better, a good boss has to create more value through the employees work than through his/her own work.  Conversely, bad bosses are expensive because they reduce the value of their entire team.  That diminished value can show up in many ways, including (but not limited to)…

  • Poor hiring decisions

  • Understaffing or overstaffing

  • High turnover

  • Employee grievances

  • Inventory problems (stock outs, back orders, etc.)

  • Cash flow problems (higher Days Sales Outstanding, poor purchasing decisions, etc.)

  • Cross departmental turmoil, “fiefdoms”

  • Low or no advancement of employees within department

  • Litigation risk (compliance violations, employee complaints)

Bad bosses create distractions that cost real money.  As supervisors, their influence extends to the people they manage….and even farther.  They affect your customers, suppliers, partners and other managers.


Some organizations develop a strong sense of loyalty to bad bosses.  After all, admitting that they employ bad bosses may mean that the Company made a bad decision.  Our answer to that is simple; compare the cost of a bad boss to the value of seeming right.  If you know you have bad bosses, either improve them or remove them.  Remember - standards of documentation apply to interventions with bad bosses, just as they do with any other underperforming employee...


No Company should expect its top employees to perform at a level greater than the performance level of a bad boss.

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