Are You Sure You’re Not a Bad Boss?

worst boss“… take the time to consider not just what kind of a leader you are, but what kind you’re not” – Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman

I found this interesting study from a pair of researchers (Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman) in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review (  They analyzed over 30,000 managers and reports from 300,000 of their peers, employees, and executives.  What they found is quite interesting.  It’s more about what they don’t do than what they do that makes them bad bosses.  It wasn’t ‘taking credit for others work’ or the ‘hypocritical’ bosses who said one thing but did another that topped the list.  It was something quite different

And the number one offense?  Failure to inspire, owing to a lack of energy and enthusiasm.  Again and again, these leaders were described as unenthusiastic and passive.

And the rest of list of ten fatal flaws that contribute to a leaders failure ?

  1. Failure to inspire, owing to a lack of energy and enthusiasm
  2. Acceptance of mediocre performance in place of excellent results
  3. Lack of clear vision and direction
  4. An inability to collaborate and  be a team player
  5. Failure to walk the talk
  6. Failure to improve or learn from their mistakes
  7. An inability to lead change or innovate owing to a resistance to new ideas
  8.  A failure to develop others
  9. Inept interpersonal skills
  10. Displays of bad judgment that leads to poor decisions

What’s more, Jack and Joseph indicated that most “bad bosses” don’t just display one of these faults, but instead tend to display three of four of them, indicating a chronic lack of leadership abilities.

How would you rate against this list?

– Kip

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