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Signs You're a Bad Boss (wsj.com)
22 points by woan on Feb 14, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments

That first one is HUGE, and I'm glad it's being called out. Call it the Blackberry effect, but the fact is that emails have a tone just like any spoken sentence. Taking the extra 15 seconds to treat the recipient like a human instead of a machine makes a world of difference.

You can go too far in the other direction, however.

I once had a boss who would write emails to us as if we were clients, not colleagues, with a completely formal style.

Internal emails should match internal conversations - not completely blunt, but not sounding like a job application letter, either.


Another sign is placing too much value on things that aren't necessarily related to performance; the quintessential example is the ass-in-seat mentality.

Displaying favoritism is another sign of a bad boss; it kills morale (perhaps more than a boss who yells at everyone equally).

There are plenty of positions where "ass-in-seat" IS a measure of productivity. I doubt too many HN readers are in one of those positions, but I can imagine plenty of managers reading the WSJ who could be managing those sorts of positions. I'd say that including that concept in the article would weaken its generality.

I'm sure you can come up with a similar number of contrived examples where one of the named signs is similarly a "valid" practice.

For example, there are positions where yelling loudly is imperative. For example, do you want the manager of a construction site to quietly state that a beam looks unstable?

There are also jobs where sickness is common even if you're the best boss in the world. Kindergarten teachers get sick because children are icky, germ-ridden little things, not because their boss is a jerk.

I think measuring inappropriate things is one of the biggest problems with bad management. It's the best way to ensure that your employees are either mediocre or pathological.

However, it's not a sign of bad management. That list is literally meant to be a list of things you can notice about the place you're managing and say, "Holy cow, these are warning signs! I should examine the situation closely." If the manager knows his benchmarks are broken beyond use but persists in using them, he likely doesn't care about anything in this article.

I doubt that's the case for 95% of all jobs. And for the jobs it is the case for, I doubt managers are going to change things just because of a WSJ article. "What? Number of hours aren't a good indicator of employee performance? Alright then, ER doctors. Show up whenever you want to."

Its funny. My grad school adviser was like this. Think about it. Getting paid the wages of a peon and being treated as one.

Ultimate sign of a bad boss, they drastically lower the productivity of the people under them by introducing politics, TPS reports, Meetings, status reports, adding work for work's sake and turning work from an exciting exploration into its opposite.

Adding a person who makes sure other people work to a team can be one of the most retarded things ever to a profession where creativity and excitement keeps people in the career to begin with.

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