Bosses from hell: How not to lead

Having a bad boss may have its uses. You'll know which behaviours you want to avoid. We asked four leaders to share their stories of poor leadership, and the lessons they learned.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander

Everyone has had at least one bad boss. Working for a bad leader stifles motivation, reduces productivity, and increases stress and anxiety. But working under a poor leader can be educational. Here’s how these leaders turned their experiences of bad bosses into valuable management insight.

Never dish the dirt

Freccia Benn is the co-founder of Accounting for Energy, a company that audits land earmarked for renewable energy production to give an accurate idea of the return. While working for a previous company, she had a boss who was indiscreet about the reasons for a colleague’s absence from work.

"I had a boss who once shouted aloud in front of a number of members of staff that the reason a colleague wasn't at work that day was because 'she had a miscarriage'," she says. "This was not the only occasion where he had done this kind of thing. I witnessed how much time was wasted in idle gossip over the situation, how embarrassing it was for the young lady in question and how it made me distrust this boss." 

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