How To Be A Bad Boss

photo by Jordan Whitt

photo by Jordan Whitt

By: Kendi Wolever

I’m a store manager for a corporately owned business. It’s this little coffee shop that has recently gained barely any attention for their subtle change in cup color for the holidays. You’ve probably never heard of it. (Hint: it’s Starbucks).

Being a boss has its own set of challenges. I have worked for this company for six years, beginning at the bottom. I worked my way into my role as store manager, so I’ve seen and experienced the ups and downs that go with each job beneath my own.

However, just because I’ve been there doesn’t mean I'm a perfect leader. A district manager recently asked me, “What has been your biggest learning moment as a store manger so far?” Man, was that a surprisingly difficult question to answer! I have overcome a lot of challenges in my journey as a store manager, but I would have to say I have probably learned the most about how to – or how not to – be a bad boss.

Below are some ways one can become just that:

1) Multitasking. I recently read an article about multitasking and how it sometimes can prove to be unproductive for certain individuals. I’ve learned that for me, it is not good to try to multitask in some situations at work. It’s really difficult to listen attentively to the cares and concerns of my employees while trying to be productive at the same time. If I’m attempting to do three aspects of my job at once, my employees end up feeling undervalued.

2) Investing too much energy in the wrong thing. I’m a people-person. I want to care and love on people - sometimes to a fault. I’ve definitely had my share of investing too much energy in one person to the point that it becomes unfair to the rest of my team. There have been periods of time in my career when I was so emotionally attached to the investment of a certain individual or project that it negatively affected the well being of the rest of my team. Choosing to balance and knowing when to have difficult conversations with employees has been one of the most helpful tools in running a healthy business.

3) Not taking time for myself. It is really easy to overwork yourself when you’re given such a huge responsibility – like helping lead a 2 million dollar business and the people who work for it. I remember the beginning of my journey and how many unnecessary hours I put into making sure every little detail was “perfect.” There were weeks when I would leave work in tears only to get up in the morning and pick the stress back up right where I left off. One of the best things you can do for your team, your business, and for yourself, is knowing when to tap out. Giving myself permission to just go home, or get out of town for a day every once in a while has been a very healthy way to handle the amount of work I do. I must always remind myself where my cap is, and allow myself to delegate what I can - whether it’s delegating tasks to others to complete, or delegating it to myself for tomorrow.

I think these are applicable ideas to not just leaders or bosses, but to employees, students, friends, or families. I’ve been learning how to not do those three things in the workplace, but how could I apply these concepts to my life outside of work?

How much fuller and richer would my friendships be if I stopped multitasking and really listened to their cares and concerns? How many times have I invested too much in the wrong person or situation in my life? And sometimes, it’s a good idea to know when to “tap out” from the business of my normal life so that I can bring my full self to any situation.

I want to learn how not to be a bad boss in not only my professional life, but also in my personal. That’s next on the agenda.