COPING WITH FAILURE

Evil Boss or Good Boss?

Nobody wants to work for an evil boss and everybody wants to work for a good one.
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Nobody wants to work for an evil boss and everyone wants to work for a good one.  Here's a quick set of comparisons to assess whether you (or your own boss) are basically evil or basically good.

1. Personality

Evil bosses are charming. They'll flatter people their faces but as soon those people out of sight, it's as if they never existed.

Good bosses are personable. They give praise without being smarmy and criticism without being mean. They coach people rather than inflate egos.

2. Personal history

Evil bosses bloat their accomplishments. They tell long-winded stories about winning single-handedly against huge odds.

Good bosses downplay their past. They'll share their experiences but only to illustrate a point that helps the team move forward.

3. Attitude

Evil bosses demand respect. Woe be to the employee who refuses to kowtow or who dares suggest that the boss isn't perfect.

Good bosses earn respect. They realize that they can't possibly be leaders if nobody follows them willingly.

4. Responsibility

Evil bosses assign blame. If things go wrong, it's due to the stupidity of others. If things go right, it's because the boss is so smart.

Good bosses share credit. If things go wrong, it's because the boss made a mistake. If things go right, it's a victory for the team.

5. Compassion

Evil bosses lack empathy. For instance, they'll deeply resent an employee who takes time off to attend a funeral.

Good bosses feel sympathy. They realize that employees have real lives that sometimes include stress and sadness.

6. Opinions

Evil bosses know it all. No matter where they are, they consider themselves the smartest person in the room.

Good bosses recruit experts. They know they'll be more successful if they surround themselves with brilliance.

7. Management style

Evil bosses manipulate people. Their employees are only pawns in the larger game that the boss is playing.

Good bosses inspire people. They get everyone playing on the same team and in the same game, to achieve the same goals.

8. Character

Evil bosses enjoy belittling people. At every meeting, they'll pick an employee to publicly rake over the coals.

Good bosses enjoy developing people. At every meeting, they find a way to help the team become more than the sum of its parts.

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IMAGE: BrianRBielawa / Flickr
Last updated: Oct 29, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is "Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know."

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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