The four types of bad bosses

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Bad bosses come in many types, but the symptoms are often similar; they create teams that are disorganized, unmotivated, and afraid to give input.

Business performance experts Antoine Gerschel and Lawrence Polsky, managing partners at, have identified four types of dysfunctional management styles you might come across in your brokering career, and have devised strategies you can use to change them:

The over-sharing boss is successful in pushing their own ideas but not in getting others to share theirs.

“We worked with one manager of this type who would ask her team questions and then answer herself before giving them a chance to reply. Team members wouldn't take action because no one had a chance to put their stamp on it. In working with this type of boss, we train them to slow down and allow their team members to give input first.”

The bully boss reigns with an autocratic style that squelches creativity and innovation. They are sometimes completely unaware that their behaviour is a problem. Showing them how their leadership style is inhibiting their team from reaching goals and opening up communication are keys to change.

The too empathetic boss gives employees too many chances to redeem themselves from mistakes and low performance. Tell-tale signs including a team missing targets. The team may spend all their time bringing up problems with the leader who feels their pain, but never acts to change things – including firing people who should be fired.

“We have turned around these types of situations by coaching leaders and their teams to prioritize problems and create action plans to deal with them,” Gerschel and Polsky added.

The indecisive people-pleaser is not able to say no, wants to be loved by everybody and is unwilling to take a stand or sacrifice popularity for the sake of the business. Lack of decisions leads to an overflow of projects and people overwhelmed with new initiatives. A person who is not willing to take a clear stand will never be a good boss. This doesn't mean making all the decisions, but a boss must be willing to make the final call and set the direction.

Executives and their teams need to be shown the critical issues they may be missing or avoiding, Gerschel and Polsky say. “A common theme is improving collaboration and communication between leaders and their teams,” they add. “New ideas and problem-solving come when there is a trusting atmosphere. And the best way for bosses to create trust is to give it.”

About the authors: Business performance experts Antoine Gerschel and Lawrence Polsky are managing partners at The global leadership and team consulting firm has educated and inspired more than 60,000 leaders in 11 industries in 30 countries on five continents since 2008. focuses on boosting bottom-line results, consistently helping their clients achieve 200 to 6600 percent ROI.

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