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Your boss did WHAT?

December 9th, 2013 by Abby Smith
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In our recent leadership pulse survey, we asked people what their bosses did that had eroded their trust in the past. Of the 200 responses we got to this question, inconsistency accounted for over 30 percent of all responses, while another 50 percent fell under these 6 mistakes:

  • Lying/lack of transparency
  • Lacking leadership skills
  • Taking undue credit/passing blame
  • Talking behind employees backs
  • Not “walking the talk”
  • Poor communication

However, some answers were unique, rather entertaining and downright shocking. Here are just a few that caught our attention as we looked over the responses.

“Paying his wife a salary and she did not work for the company”
This one was the most unique response we received. Nothing like a little payroll fraud to make you lose faith in your leader. Good rule to live by, if they don’t work for your company, don’t give them a salary.

“Spend a late night out, arrive late to a meeting as a result, and blame someone else for the delay.”
There is nothing wrong with a boss having some fun; after all they are people, too. However just like the rest of us, letting it interfere with your job is a big no-no. Blaming someone else for it is even worse.

“Delivering services that are less than promised, without acknowledging the disservice to the customer, hiding or making excuses for ineffective or poor services”
While we got many responses about dishonesty with employees, surprisingly, this is the only response we got about dishonesty towards customers.

“Became irate with us about not having any coffee, tea or food on our desks but ate in her office.”
Having different sets of rules for yourself and your employees doesn’t exactly inspire trust.

So how do these employees recommend that their boss regain their trust? Well, not surprisingly since 30 percent said their biggest problem with their boss was inconsistency, consistency came in at number one. Transparency and walk the talk were also pretty common responses. Some recommendations were short, sweet and to the point:

“a simple ‘thank you’”
“Be human”
“Keep promises. ALWAYS.”
“Listen”

Others had quite a few ideas:
“Be open, be authentic, speak in language everyone understands, treat all staff equally and with respect, know people’s names and a little about them, praise them, give the responsibility and new challenges, good coaching.”

“Develop a set of values (with the team) for the way that the team ( including the leader ) work together.. Consult with the team whenever possible in things that involve the team.”

“Love them really. Try to understand every thought whether it is good or bad for the company. Keep the private conversations.”

“Collaborations, less emails and more personal contact. More root cause analysis, real problem solving rather than dealing with how things appear. Ability to see through the smokescreens. Be prepared for challenge. Don’t just appoint ‘yes people’.”

However, we think this gal or guy said it best, “Take a few leadership classes.”

Sorry, couldn’t let the opportunity for a shameless plug slip by.

For a full report of the results of the leadership pulse survey, download Driving Business Results by Building Trust. What are some examples of bad boss behavior you’ve experienced? Share in the comments below.

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Abby is the Marketing Coordinator at Forum and works out of the Boston office.

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