Originally published on effectivemanagers.com

Dwight Mihalicz MBA CMC, is founder and President of Effective managers and, a TEC Canada speaker. Dwight helps organizations of all sizes in all sectors achieve greater productivity, efficiency, and performance. In 2013 Effective ManagersTM partnered with the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa to conduct groundbreaking research on understanding the dynamics of manager effectiveness in the workplace. This led to the development of a survey to assess manager effectiveness, and The Effective Point of Accountability® framework.

The sad fact about the working world today is that most of us have encountered a terrible boss at some point in our careers. Sometimes it’s difficult for subordinates to pinpoint what it is that makes the leaders awful, but they are always aware when their job unhappiness is caused by their superior.

A possible solution to this problem is self-awareness. For a lousy boss to become better, they need to know how good bosses work. Once they become aware of how they’re letting their subordinates down, they can work on improving their managerial abilities. Let’s have a look at the five things bad bosses fail to do:

1. They Don’t Plan Very Well

Being able to make adequate plans that paint a clear vision for the department and the linkages to the organization’s strategy.  The plan must also take every employee’s abilities into account for achieving the pan,. This is one of the defining traits of well-loved, successful bosses and managers. As opposed to that, bosses who lack the awareness to create realistic plans can often end up overworking their employees. The lack of a clear plan well understood by all will lead to confusion, duplicated work, missed work, and conflict within the team. Bosses without a clear plan will not have clear priorities, and as a result will overload their employees and drive them into burnout. This is a severe cause of unhappiness in the workplace.

2. They Don’t Do Their Own Work

Once the plan is in place, the need to identify and do their own value-added work. They must not waste precious time micromanaging others instead of being dedicated to their value-added work. A good boss will always focus on the overall strategy of the organization to ensure primary organizational goals are met. They will receive inputs from all of their team members, but only the boss can integrate all of this work together into the successful attainment of their vision.

3. They Fail to Set Boundaries or Context

For an effective team, it’s critical for a boss to set enough context for the work of the department that team members can make decisions and take initiatives that are consistent with the department vision. The boss must also set the boundaries within which work is to be performed. Without doing this work, no manager can make the correct decisions, employees won’t have any authority to perform their tasks and use their judgment, and it will be challenging to meet the goals of the department.

4. They Don’t Delegate Work Effectively

When the delegation of work isn’t effective, the whole organization suffers. And the boss is uniquely positioned to do this delegation. If the boss doesn’t do this work, no-one else can. When a boss fails to delegate work appropriately, a myriad of problems may arise. It causes an overall lack of efficiency as well as negative feelings of employees because collaboration needs to take place by negotiation instead of with a common understanding set by the boss.

For example, if a boss assigns a task to an employee but doesn’t give them the authority to get it done on their own, opting instead to micromanage the employee and ask them to authorize their every action, it leads to issues. If they last long enough, organizations begin to experience a complete lack of accountability which results in missed deadlines, projects running over budget, too many meetings, and generally a loss of clarity for overall operations going forward.

5. They Discourage Feedback Loops

Providing and receiving feedback is an activity a lousy boss often isn’t interested in. With them there are no feedback loops — if any feedback is given, it’s one-way, from the boss to the employees but not the other way around. It can create a negative atmosphere where the boss is seemingly beyond reproach while employees are always in the line of fire. A lack of a feedback loop also discourages teamwork on the organization level and leaves managers without the information they need to manage employees properly.

Bad bosses are more detrimental to an enterprise than any other employee. With their accountability for managerial leadership, it’s imperative for them to be aware of the practices that would have the most benefit for the business. Constant feedback, planning and delegating work, and taking care of their responsibilities, can help transform bad bosses into effective ones.