There’s something to be said for being bad – and there are many who have become quite successful for their complete lack of ability (presuming of course that one is represented by some tremendous PR people). The examples come quickly to mind – any Kardashian, reality tv (I’m sorry, I know many of you love it – I just think watching people reduced to tears because of their appearance, love life, swapped spouse or horrific fashion sense is just not, well…good), shock jocks, Paris Hilton, etc.. I get it – there’s a lot to be gained by being talentless – fame, money, one’s own personal posse, Louis Vuitton doggie carriers, an interview with Dr. Phil…
So I’m here to help in the only way I can – I can provide you with some very clear guidance on being a lousy, really bad boss (without violating any federal or state labor laws). Please, please – no need to thank me. If this is what you’ve been searching for all along, I share your surprise at the dearth of information than can help you be a terrible supervisor. Perhaps some of this has been obvious to you all along, yet with all the emphasis on self-improvement, professional development, challenging one’s self to embrace excellence, I can see how the simple steps one needs to take to reach farther down can get lost in all of this positive, ‘you-can-do-it’ energy. Sit back and relax dear friends – let me offer some basic actions that you can apply today in your quest to hit new lows in lousy leadership. I promise – you too can make your company’s “Worst Supervisors” list and begin your descent into infamy.
– Don’t give a hoot about the people for whom you have responsibility. This can be done in any number of ways – ratchet back your feedback to the barely relevant; assure you’ll get back to someone asap and don’t do it; provide conflicting information about a project’s requirements.
– Say ‘no’ as often as possible. Leave any affirmative responses for times when you are under untenable duress and see no other alternatives.
– Gossip as much as you can – ideally about people within your department. If you can manage to engage in these conversations with others on your team, all the better.
– Complain – a lot. Don’t feel that it is your responsibility to make the workplace a collegial, energized, collaborative environment. Put that on someone else and then find fault in whatever efforts s/he makes.
– Own as little of your job as possible, and demand that your people take full ownership of theirs.
– Play favorites if you can, though I caution you that you may begin a slippery slide down the path of discriminatory practice. I’m not looking to help you become a defendant here.
– Take everything personally and react as defensively as possible. After all, isn’t it all about you?
– Keep your people in tall, separate silos – the less they know what is going on around them, the better.
– Try to understand as little as possible about what your people are doing – there’s nothing more demoralizing than having a boss who has no clue what the hell you do everyday.
– Maintain an opaque quality to your communications. God knows what could happen if you sought the maximum amount of transparency – people may get ideas, offer their thoughts about a given objective, feel part of a bigger whole, etc. Ix-nay on the communication, ok?
– Don’t commit to doing what you assure people you’re going to do.
– Keep your door closed, don’t walk around and whatever you do – try not to smile – even to those who may acknowledge you warmly. The good news is that if you keep doing these things, you will quickly not have to concern yourself with anyone greeting you at all.
– And finally, I would tell people that all that matters is results, though I wouldn’t disclose what those measures are.
See? I told you this wouldn’t be tough. I am confident that if you follow these simple guidelines, you too can be really bad at what you do. Of course, if you are one of those people who responds to reverse psychology, I apologize in advance. You may end up responding in the exact opposite manner than that which is outlined above – and we all know where that gets you. You’ll become one of those people who is driven by the challenge of making a positive difference in your day and the days of the people with whom you work – ugh!.