What makes a good leader? It’s a question thousands have already tried to answer.
I’d wager that if you think hard enough, you would realize that you actually know how to lead. But if you insist, I actually want you to enjoy learning. So, to make this more fun, I won’t teach you about the qualities of a good leader. I’ll actually teach you how to suck.
Are you ready? Let’s do this.
1. Be a control freak.
Watch all of your employees like a hawk waiting to eat a chick.
Document all business processes down to the letter, depriving your employees of all meaningful autonomy. Then, when they submit their (required) progress reports to you, freak out over the inconsistent fonts and formatting. Insist on justified alignment just because you can.
Don’t be a boss. Be a dictator.
Empower your employees.
Lay out clear expectations about the results, but give your team the latitude to determine how to get results. You may be afraid that they’ll foul up, but as long as you have clear expectations, and appropriate boundaries, you’ll be fine most of the time.
If you give your team enough trust and empowerment, they’ll surprise you with what they can do.
2. Be an inconsiderate jerk.
Don’t care about your employees.
If someone dies in their family, insist they still come to work. If they’re trying to survive a deadly illness, tell them they’ll be fired once they come back to the office. To cap off your reign of terror, pay bad wages they can barely live on. Demand brutal workweeks, but without paid overtime.
Economically speaking, pay a reasonable wage, one attached to an equally reasonable workweek. Add in a good benefit package, and make the office a happy place to be.
For the emotional aspect, just be a good human. Encourage them when they’ve done a good job, assume the best of your team until proven otherwise, and always make reasonable demands.
They’re your employees, not your playthings.
3. Close your office door and let no one in without an appointment.
You’re the boss, so keep your office off-limits to the peons.
Treat it as the holy land, which only the senior staff can enter. If some low-ranking schmuck suddenly tries to ask your help for something, ask them if they have an appointment. They’ll probably not have one, so you can show them the door with a gleeful smile.
In case they ask when you’re free, say, “I’m never free. Not for you.”
Keep the door open, and maintain a culture of communication. Don’t make yourself unapproachable or act as if you’re above the masses.
If people have a problem that they bring to you, don’t dismiss it based on their rank in the organization. At the very least, acknowledge their presence and thank them for coming to you. Then, listen sincerely to their concern. Work with them to find a solution.
4. Lie to your heart’s content.
Honesty is for losers, so say one thing and do another.
Better yet, say you’ll do something and then don’t do it at all.
Beyond that, lie to candidates about the working conditions. Tell them you’re “very invested” in their careers, but then treat them like expendable mules. When layoff time comes around, tell the unfortunates that it was hard for you to do. Then, once they’re gone, throw a party for the remaining staff.
Display honesty and integrity in your business dealings.
More importantly, state your values and principles, and then live up to them with words and actions.
Do what you say you’ll do, and keep all stated promises as much as you can. If you can’t follow through on a deadline, tell those concerned immediately. If you make a claim, ensure that you can back it up and that it’s true.
5. Drown your office in negativity.
Positive thinking is a load of crap anyway. Affirmations don’t work, and people need to toughen up.
So, when you lose a major client or your website tanks, whine to your heart’s content. Tell people that the situation is hopeless, and that nothing can be done. And, while you’re at it, don’t encourage people to think of solutions. Let them rant. Better yet, join them in a blame-fest.
Complaining rocks, am I right?
Be the rock during worrisome times.
Every business has its difficulties; the important thing is to remind the team that you can still get back up if you fall down. If the team gets a little discouraged, don’t let the negativity fester. Immediately shift your attention to finding viable solutions to problems.
Lastly, don’t engage in endless blame games. Those are absolutely pointless.
I repeat - they’re absolutely pointless.
6. Don’t care about the work to be done.
And, when I say “don’t care”, I really mean don’t care.
So forget things like self-improvement, excellence or innovation. Don’t train your staff, don’t care about market changes, and don’t care about building a creative organization. If your team wants to get better at something, let them, but don’t get involved.
At worst, don’t show up to work at all. At best, show up, but nap in your office.
Let the lowly peons take care of things like “getting results” and “improving the bottom line”.
Leadership doesn’t give you an excuse to slack around, so do your part every day. Show meaningful results at work, and create output you can be proud of.
In your own life, make one tiny improvement or acquire a new skill, and then encourage your team to do the same. If they come to you with ideas, evaluate their potential. Grow with your employees. And, in the midst of all the routine work, don’t forget innovation and organizational growth.
There you have it. Six ways to absolutely suck at leadership. I’d warn you not to follow my cheeky advice, but then, something tells me you’re smart enough to know what to do.
In case you’re in the mood for some further (and more serious) reading, check out the links below.
I hope you’ve learned something today, and that you’ll be a better leader by tomorrow.
PS. The articles below are pretty long, so block out some time.