BOSSES: Spotlight’s on you! Dear Boss, We’ve been talking and we, your team, feel it’s time for a change. Perhaps you have suspected that we can see through your smoke-screen all along, maybe you really are clueless. Either way your leadership skills need an overhaul and that begins with getting to know yourself as a leader. Pay attention, we’re talking to YOU!
Don’t Wanna-Know We need you to deal with the details and pitch in. You isolate yourself, telling us it's "not my job" and to "just do it." We see you as out of touch and full of hot air- not because you can’t learn, you don’t want to learn. It's time to step away from your spreadsheets and get your hands dirty. You need to channel the talent, time, and tools of your team, but you don't have a clue how they're already being deployed.
Don’t Listen Not only do you fiddle with your phone when we're speaking, interrupt constantly to make your point, and roll your eyes and grow impatient—except for when you're talking, you also disregard our input every time. The constant distractions only communicate to us that you don’t care. We’ve given up; we don't come to you anymore and we all suffer for it. If you want to succeed, pull your head out of the sand and rebuild relationships.
Closed-Minded Your accomplishment and achievement has made you susceptible to pride so you're quick to reach conclusions. Your team sees you as closed-minded with no room for discussion, differences, or dissent. You may view yourself as all-knowing, but conditions change and talent doesn't stand for "my way or the highway" for long. Pride goeth before a fall: can you remove that paper bag and open up and adapt before then?
Poor Preparation “Another emergency meeting”. “Drop what you're doing, they need it now!” “We're changing direction and working late again”. Everything is always last minute. Maybe it fosters teamwork and creativity sometimes, but good teams should not be constantly in a state of crisis. All of the unexpected drama reflects your inability to set expectations, plan ahead, and think it through. We’re going nowhere fast, and it's just wearing us down.
Unmotivated Maybe you see yourself as being hands-off or encouraging self-reliance. Whatever the intent, you're not helping the company grow. And that's your real job as a manager: to broaden our outlook, push your team beyond comfort zones, exemplify the corporate values, and focus on learning, serving, persevering, leading, and advancing. You need to get more involved, light a fire, and encourage our growth. We need your energy!
Big Bully History remembers tyrants but rarely remembers those who did the heavy lifting. You've created the same divide-and-conquer atmosphere, a lot of big talk with no reward. Cheerleading can quickly turn to bullying if there is no reward. We all ask ourselves the same question: "Why?" You may think we should be in "for life," but what are you giving in return for our loyalty?
Undisciplined Do your team members come and go as they please, living according to their own rules. If no one knows who is where or doing what, the result is always chaos. Maybe you want to be everyone’s buddy, but realize that coddling does no favors to anyone. Like it or not, you need rules and accountability.
No-Tact You always remind us that we're replaceable and working at your pleasure. Your talent and tenure shields you from scrutiny but brains take you only so far; eventually, you'll need to build and nurture relationships. And that requires people skills: listening, charming, understanding, and compromising. Are you up for that?
No-Respect Your team is usually last to get face time and resources. Our mission is vital and performance exceeds expectations. You'd like to believe it's jealousy, but look at your variables: appearance, body language, and speaking and writing styles. Do you convey the image of a polished professional who can work in a team and get the job done? If you can't, you'll never get anyone's ear.
Ambush! There's nothing like a surprise! Thanks for singling us out in public or ambushing in private! We all know you're not afraid to render judgments and deliver lectures. Despite our advanced degrees and track records, you still treat us as servants. Instead of dropping the news all at once, give us fair warning when our performance doesn't meet expectations. Always take action immediately—and discreetly.
Anti-Communication We are floundering, with no vision, goals, expectations, or time frames. You do not share in the decisions or why they are made. We are frozen out, unsure if moving forward, and beating hopelessly against the tide. We fear the unknown more than the truth. Want to stay credible? Drop the smokescreens and evasions and be straight with us. We all have a stake.
Last-Place Every day is a talent competition and you seem to see us as coming in last place. Just how much praise and feedback are you regularly providing? Are you boosting our egos, reminding us of our successes and the bigger picture when failure inevitably happens? Don't take us for granted. Care about us personally—or you'll lose us.
wimpy, Wimpy WIMPY! You should b e our Wizard, but instead you are a cowardly lion. The one thing everyone knows about you: NO COURAGE! You're the one who doesn't make waves and avoids unpleasantness. You can keep your head down only so long. Eventually, our superiors will cross that line, whether it's fleecing customers or flouting laws. And that's when you have the great decision: Stand up—or sell out.
Double-Standard We see the double standard, the "do as I say, not as I do." You question our commitment—while you interview for other jobs. You preach accountability, then you take on consulting gigs. It's funny how you always find exceptions for yourself. "Because I said so" may work with children, but not so well with seasoned professionals. To lead, you must apply the rules to yourself and be an example.
Sir-Yes-SIR! Is the office your own personal boot-camp? You hide behind a closed door but when you emerge, you're all business, guard up, dour, distant, and critical. You set the mood and work isn't designed to be adult day care—it can't be internment, either. We need more fun. Inject some fresh air and energy. Give us an extra impetus to come in every morning.
Denial You want us to keep quiet and pretend everything is running smoothly. When situations arise, you hide hoping it will all go away, leaving us to pick up the pieces. Cop-outs and Band-Aids only pacify for so long. Eventually, the issue will become about you, at that point no lip service or half-hearted efforts can save you.
Insecurity All leaders fear losing control or exposing weaknesses. You won’t establish authority by shooting down our ideas or congratulating yourself. Managers today are respected for capabilities, flexibility, and professionalism, not titles. Good bosses reflect well on their people, too. And that's how the best bosses attract and retain the best people. Want a better team? Become a better manager.
Unpredictable The fuse is lit. Something happened to set you off—and we know what comes next. Another tantrum, with the usual cursing, stomping, huffing and puffing. You might snap back to normal, but we never know when the next outburst might come. You are unapproachable, we know another outburst awaits. Passion is critical in leadership, but keep it controlled, or you'll lose our respect.
Human-Target "We're all in this together" until something goes awry. You’ll never admit an error or take responsibility. You'll put a target on one of our backs and sacrifice your scapegoat, as always. And that's why we avoid taking risks. When we do, we wonder if you'll support and shield us. Remember that the next time you're looking for someone to take charge.
Backstabber Business is never "just business," with you. You're out to settle scores. You trash people when they leave—or cheap-shot them while they are here. You hold grudges and play dirty. Worst of all, we know you'd fire us if we ever fought back. You're too thin-skinned to be second-guessed. In the end, your behavior only invites more scrutiny.
Two-Faced We see you with the higher-ups. You tell them exactly what they want to hear; your usual bravado replaced with that fake smile and small talk. Deep inside, we long for authenticity. We want to rip away the curtain, to know their motives and where we truly stand. You're losing the ability to motivate and connect with us. Time to get REAL.
Untouchable Congratulations! Your net annual report looks fabulous. Too bad we did all the work. Of course, the higher-ups have no idea what we sacrificed—and you'll never tell them. Whether you take credit for our ideas or numbers, we know how the game works. You're untouchable! Your superiors protect you; human resources fears you. But we know the truth—and so do you.
Back-Climber We are nothing but a stepping-stone, another line on your résumé. You're out for yourself, and you lead like it. You arrive late and leave early, delegating everything you can. You play it safe, piling up the low-hanging fruit and carefully weighing the politics. Eventually, you'll coast into the higher ranks … where you'll be exposed. Don't wait until tomorrow to learn how to build relationships and lead initiatives.
Blabbermouth Your open-door policy is more of an open-mouth policy. What we say can, and will, be held against us. You smile and nod when we express our doubts. Still, these conversations end up publicly haunting us. Maybe we're better off keeping everything to ourselves, but that won't help you. Loose lips sink ships—and relationships. You can't lead if you can't be trusted.
Favoritism We've seen it all here: favoritism, broken promises, politics, and reprisals. We're always looking over our shoulders, knowing it's often about appearances. And the lack of transparency only feeds our gut suspicions—the ones we project onto you. Before you're completely tuned out, look back on the basics. That means applying the same rules for everyone, honoring your word, and bringing those camouflaged mores into the open.
Micromanager You hover and meddle, unable to delegate, leaving your fingerprints on everything. At times, that is necessary. But eventually you need to step back and give us autonomy and ownership. You retained us for our expertise, creativity, and intangibles. Keep your eye on the big picture and connect the moving parts—stop "micromanaging" and let us do our jobs.
Unresponsive We work in a "time is money" and "the sooner, the better" world. Customers have grown accustomed to quick response and resolution. Except here, of course, where we're always waiting on you. No one doubts your plate is full. Nonetheless, we're the ones taking the heat, not you. Maybe it's time to adjust your priorities and pace. If you can't, your customers will … somewhere else.
Playing-Politics Sometimes, you seem more interested in competing with other departments than our real rivals. You're always withholding and excluding, promoting that "us vs. them" mentality. Maybe this is your way of showing how smart or invaluable you are. Unfortunately, you're pulling us down with you. In the end, we all rise and fall together. Remember that the next time you start playing games.
We’re all a part of this team, you need us to make everything run smoothly- and we need you too. We sincerely hope you will listen, learn, and apply so that we can all achieve greater success! Sincerely, US!