Leadership Competencies of 7 Bad Bosses
Nov 11, 2017
Who’s on your list of bad bosses?
We’ve all worked for people who we’d put on a personal list of bad bosses. Often, it’s obvious to us and other team members exactly which leadership competencies the bad boss is missing. Intentionally developed self-awareness is the missing ingredient.
But how many of us, let alone bad bosses, are ready to listen to feedback on our leadership performance? How many team members are skillful and also courageous enough to offer their leaders insightful feedback that the leader is willing to hear and act on?
A more constructive way to think and talk about bad bosses might be in terms of the leadership competencies that they focus on, so that we can begin to identify why they and us might be ignoring other competencies we all need to be successful as collaborators and leaders. After all, no one decides they want to be a bad boss!
The following list demonstrates how a narrow or selective focus on a few leadership competencies can guide a person towards becoming one of these 7 bad bosses. After that, we’ll get clearer on what exactly we mean by a leadership competency, and where to start on the path to becoming a better leader.
7 Bad Bosses PDF
Bad Boss No. 1 – The Daydreamer
They have the vision, self-confidence, and initiative, but what makes a Daydreamer one of the 7 bad bosses is their impatience and egocentric focus. They have little time for others, and may also believe that time spent managing and organizing their team is a waste of their extraordinary talents.
Daydreamers aren’t all that effective, so the danger they pose is mainly to themselves and their direct teams. Because they are such poor collaborators, they often fail to realize their own potential, and don’t typically support or provide learning opportunities for others.
They generally focus on the 5 leadership competencies that align with their self-image as the maverick entrepreneur: Generating Vision; Adaptability and Flexibility; Initiative and Decisiveness; Self-Confidence and Optimism; Self-Control and Self-Management.
Bad Boss No. 2 – The Entertainer
As far as bad bosses go, The Entertainer appears at first to be a fairly benign one. After all, they just want to be liked by everyone and genuinely want everyone to have a positive experience. Because making sure everyone is having a good time is important to them, they may even prioritize a pleasant experience and seeking the goodwill of others ahead of group goals.
Entertainers are a danger to themselves and their teams, especially when their self-esteem is contingent on receiving validation from others. Such brittle self-esteem may drive them towards actions and decisions that bolster the admiration and attention they can receive. Consequently, the best interests of their group, individual group members and clients, the larger organization, and the communities they serve can all get left behind. This is why Entertainers find themselves on the list of bad bosses.
They generally focus on the 5 leadership competencies that align with their self-image as a ‘people person’: Empathy; Collaboration; Coach and Mentor; Relationships and Networks; and Conflict Palliation and Resolution.
Bad Boss No. 3 – The Killjoy
The Killjoy self-identifies as an expert and problem-solver. They typically prefer to work on their own rather than collaborate with and manage other people. They may even believe that people are at the root of all their problems. As a result, Killjoys as managers are a danger to themselves and their direct teams.
They generally tend to focus on the 5 leadership competencies that align with their self-image as a technically-minded expert: Technical Expertise; Analytical Thinking; Systematic Approach; Achievement Orientation; and Political Awareness.
Bad Boss No. 4 – The Flake
Flakes are skilled enough to be dangerous! The typical Flake has a compelling vision, they use their social and emotional competencies to engage and inspire a team, but they struggle to organize themselves or others.
The Flake’s ability to engage but failure to organize can result in their wider organizations suffering the effects of their approaches.
They generally focus on these 12 leadership competencies: Empathy; Collaboration; Team Building; Coach and Mentor; Relationships and Networks; Conflict Palliation and Resolution; Generating Vision; Service Orientation; Adaptability and Flexibility; Initiative and Decisiveness; Self-Confidence and Optimism; Self-Control and Self-Management.
Bad Boss No. 5 – The Sociopath
They are politically aware and use their social and emotional competencies to manipulate those they can’t directly command or control. Consequently, Sociopaths are skilled enough to be dangerous. Their wider organizations can suffer the effects of their approaches.
They generally focus on these 12 leadership competencies: Political Awareness; Technical Expertise; Analytical Thinking; Systematic Approach; Directing and Delegating; Achievement Orientation; Influence; Empathy; Collaboration; Coach and Mentor; Relationships and Networks; Conflict Palliation and Resolution.
Bad Boss No. 6 – The Stiff
Stiffs are organized and have vision, but they don’t usually bring their social and emotional skills to work. As a result, they often hold a formal, mechanistic view of organizations. At work, they see people only as the roles they perform, and perceive work relationships in terms of the hierarchy and organization chart.
While he or she might seek information from others, Stiffs don’t invite a collaborative approach. They generally think people should just do what they’re told.
Stiffs are skilled enough to be dangerous, and their wider organizations can suffer the effects of their approaches. They generally focus on these 12 leadership competencies: Political Awareness; Technical Expertise; Analytical Thinking; Systematic Approach; Conceptual Thinking; Achievement Orientation; Generating Vision; Information Seeking; Adaptability and Flexibility; Initiative and Decisiveness; Self-Confidence and Optimism; Self-Control and Self-Management.
Bad Boss No. 7 – The Megalomaniac
Finally, we come to the Megalomaniac! The Megalomaniac has the knowledge and skills for world domination, but lacks the ability to question whether they should.
They have vision, they use their social and emotional competencies to engage and inspire, and they know how to organize themselves and others, so they can make a huge impact in their organizations and beyond.
But, along with the other bad bosses named here, they devalue, ignore, and generally fail to develop the 3 core leadership competencies that should guide all leaders.
As a result, The Megalomaniac’s potential to build an effective, yet harmful organization is truly horrific.
They combine the 21 overlapping competencies of the other 6 bad bosses, but lack the 3 leadership competencies they lack are:
~ Intentional Self-Awareness;
~ Genuine interest in and concern for others;
~ Ethical and moral grounding and framework.
A Leadership Competencies Model for Your Development
A competency is more than just the demonstrated set of skills and knowledge a person employs in response to relevant situations. Skills and knowledge may be the most visible signs, but when it comes to leadership competencies, there are three deeper layers that support a leader in reliably demonstrating a competency:
- Self-image, role performance, and the values and priorities that drive decisions;
- Under-articulated ways of framing the world, and judging self and others;
- Semi-conscious ways of thinking about and explaining situations.
These three deeper layers, including self-reported, under-articulated, and semi-conscious psychological experiences, can support a leader in in recognizing the role they could or should play in familiar and recurring situations. They can also guide a leader in how they might best employ their skills and knowledge.
The First and Most Important of all Leadership Competencies is Self-Awareness
There are 24 leadership competencies in 3 overlapping clusters – managerial, entrepreneurial, and relational. All leaders focus on at least a few of the competencies in one or more of these clusters.
But when leaders fail to develop the 3 core competencies shared by all 3 clusters, they become or remain one of the 7 bad bosses.
Consequently, to avoid becoming or remaining a bad boss, you need develop the 3 core leadership competencies:
- Intentional Self-Awareness;
- Genuine interest in and concern for others;
- Ethical and moral grounding and framework.
When you begin with intentionally building your self-awareness, you give yourself the reflective insights required to identify and develop the other leadership competencies you and your team need to be successful in the broadest possible terms.
Your Next Step in Building Self-Awareness
Announcing a new online leadership course with a difference: Become a Self-Aware Leader!
You will develop your self-awareness while you gain insight into how you think, explain, judge, and frame your familiar and recurring situations. You will also examine the roles you adopt in your situations, and the values and priorities you bring to them.
This course draws on over 100 published references across psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and philosophy to help you gain clarity around how you perceive the world and yourself in it.
Are you ready to take the next step in your development as an authentic, ethical, and self-aware leader? Then visit the course announcement page to learn more:
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