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    The Dangers of a Toxic Boss
    The Vault

    The Dangers of a Toxic Boss

    May 2018

    You already know that the day-to-day decisions made by leaders and managers of your company impact your bottom line, but did you know their overall behavior, how employees feel about them, directly affects your success? It’s true. The behaviors of management dictate employee performance, and the really toxic managers can be blamed for poor work performance and high employee turnover.

    Google recently conducted a massive study of management behavior, one of the largest ever, ultimately revealing eight key qualities that ruin company morale. Google's People Innovation Lab spent one year data mining performance appraisals, employee surveys, nominations for top manager awards, and other sources to evaluate the differences between the highest- and lowest-rated managers. The researchers summarized hundreds of pages of interview notes and data, then shared the results with employees. The results are eye-opening.

    Funny enough, most toxic bosses are clueless they even have a problem. Take a look at the following questions, which are summarized points from Google’s findings. If you find yourself nodding along with any of them as you read, well, Houston, we have a problem.

    1. I struggle with patience. When I teach an employee a new skill, I feel frustrated if they don’t “get it” quickly.
    2. I find myself double-checking employees’ work a lot. I want to believe they’re getting it right, but I just don’t.
    3. I know little personal information about my employees. Our discussions revolve around work and little else.
    4. I feel out of control a lot. I run behind and feel like I’m going in a thousand directions. I just can’t seem to meet my own production goals.
    5. I’d rather stay in my office than be around my employees.
    6. If an employee wants to succeed in the company, it’s up to him or her personally to do it. I don’t feel obligated to or invested in others.
    7. I can’t plan for the growth of my department or company because I just can’t imagine hitting goals with the existing team in place. They’re not good enough, and I can’t motivate them.
    8. When someone on my staff has skills that I don’t, it bothers me. I don’t like depending on others or feeling like my skills are lacking.

    If you answered "yes" to one or more of the items above, it's likely you're seen as a toxic boss. Why? Because each one of those traits undermines employee feelings of value, trust, and loyalty. Once employees feel they’re disposable, your production will slide. Quite likely, you’ll end up alone.

    Need to make a change? If you’re the owner and sole manager of your company and you’re toxic, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Changing attitudes and behaviors is not easy. But, if you can leverage some management tasks to others who have the right workplace persona to be a good boss, then do it. You’re not a horrible person either way. We all have strengths, and being an individual contributor rather than a manager of many might be better for you. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just resolve to find the right solution.


    Do you have any toxic tendencies? How are you working on them? Comment below and stay tuned to this blog series on productivity!

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