One man’s trash is another’s treasure, so the old saying goes. But what about bosses?
Can one employee consider a boss toxic, while another just calls it toughness? There is a difference, experts say, between a hard-driving, high-expectations manager and one who is simply a bad leader. It’s a topic several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on this week. Here’s what two of them had to say.
Pree Sarkar, director at Searchcraft Recruitment
To develop great management skills, people “need training, coaching and clear direction,” wrote Sarkar in his post 5 Things Only Bad Bosses Say. “Without these things, some managers simply don’t realise how poorly they perform.”
There are five tell-tale signs of the worst managers — and they “are likely to have a destructive affect,” he wrote.
“This place falls apart without me.
Bad managers mistakenly believe that it’s a good reflection of their talents if the workplace collapses as soon as they are on holiday. In fact, it is a very poor indictment of an individual’s management skills if they cannot take time out,” Sarkar wrote, adding that good managers delegate, and make sure others can handle responsibilities, “rather than micromanage”.
“This is the way we have always done it.
History is seldom a strong justification for deciding not to change things,” he wrote. “Bad managers fear change, and this statement clearly indicates that the person who made it justifies his or her actions without thinking about new opportunities.”
“You’re lucky to have a job…
It is damaging for a manager to say this to people,” Sarkar wrote. “Ineffective managers try to wield their authority negatively… to make [people] work harder because they don’t know how to coach and motivate people. Good managers know that motivated teams work hard and get good results, without any attempt to bully them into gratitude.”
Jack Welch, former chief executive at General Electric and executive chairman at Jack Welch Management Institute
Many kinds of bosses can get results from their employees. But can you tell the difference between tough and toxic, or effective and too nice?
“Without doubt, there are tough bosses who are nothing more than bullying, power-drunk jerks, and they’re brutal to work for,” wrote Welch in his post Tough Boss or Bad Boss? “They callously push their people, take credit when things go right, point fingers when they don’t and generally are very stingy with praise and rewards. They can also be moody, political, manipulative, secretive, outright mean or all of the above.”
These bosses sometimes get good results from employees, but it doesn’t last for long, wrote Welch.
“At the other of the spectrum, and equally as damaging to the business, are the ‘Is everybody happy?’ bosses,” he wrote. The(y) might be nice to work for, “but their spinelessness typically translates into mediocre results”. That’s partly because “they explain away misses without meting out consequences [and] change direction according to the needs and wishes of the last person in their office,” Welch wrote.
Then there’s the boss in between these two extremes. To them, tough means tough-minded, and they are closer to the hard end than the soft, wrote Welch. “[They are] bosses who define the notion of tough the right way, and because of that manage to get strong, long-term performance from their people. It is not going too far to say that such bosses are actually the heroes of business, not the villains,” he wrote. “They might not make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but their good results create a healthy, fair work environment where people and the company prosper, where there is job security for employees who perform well, and value for shareholders.”
What’s so different about these bosses? “They set clear, challenging goals. They connect those goals with specific expectations. They conduct frequent, rigorous performance reviews. They reward results,” wrote Welch. “They are relentlessly candid, letting everyone know where they stand and how the business is doing. Every single day, good tough bosses stretch people. They ask for a lot, and they expect to get it.”
Yes, this might make them hard to work for, explained Welch. But, “if you’re up to the challenge, working for a tough boss can be incredibly energising because you achieve in ways you never thought you could.”
This article was written by BBC Capital from BBC and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.