I don't consider myself a great boss but, according to an article published by the Communications Executive Council, at least I don't qualify as “a nightmare to work for.”
The CEC's Human Resource program says all bosses, even the great ones, struggle in the same three areas:
– Evaluating employee performance
– Providing effective feedback
– Turning around underperformance
I'd give myself a B-plus in the first area, a C-plus in the second and a C in the last (I'm still working on turning Ed around).
The report also lists the five warning signs that you, dear reader, may be a bad boss. They include:
1.) Meetings happen without you. That's certainly not true in my case. My office should have a revolving door. Meetings occur around the clock.
2.) Problems blow up before you hear about them. I've always known about the big problems BEFORE they've blown up. That said, I have been caught by surprise when an employee or client walked on us.
3.) You don't know what your employees care about or enjoy doing. Not this boss. Thanks to our stand-up comedy training, I'm up to speed on more things about each of our employees than even they probably want me to know. I know one employee, for example, hates flying with her Mom. I know another one is a world class Hip Hop dancer. And, I know a third suffers from chronic stomach problems. TMI, no?
4.) Your people don't know where they stand. We provide standard oral and written feedback and give raises and promotions based on performance alone. There are no teacher's pets at Peppercom. Well, Ted was a teacher's pet for a while, but not anymore.
5.) No one disagrees with you. Everyone disagrees with me, even our interns. Seriously, I can't tell how many times I float an idea on e-mail only to see it shot down like a low-flying Stuka dive bomber over London circa 1940.
The CEC report is a useful checklist to help bosses at any level improve their leadership abilities. It's a critical factor when one considers the old aphorism: people quit people, not organizations. And, I know for a fact that certain PR firms have a poor image precisely because the head honcho is a horrible boss.
So, do me a favor: if you're a boss, tell me how you fare against this checklist. And, if you're an employee, let me know how your boss measures up. This is an area in which every one of us can learn something.