Ep 49 // I Used to Be a #HorribleBoss - Here’s How I Became Better (It’s Not Too Late)

Ep 49

Nothing kills productivity like a toxic work environment. When employees don’t feel psychologically safe at work, leaders need to look inward to try and find answers. This episode focuses on what a toxic work environment looks like, why a horrible boss could be to blame, and how founders and leaders can cultivate self-awareness and identify what can be changed to help employees flourish in the workplace.

According to leadership coach (and a former horrible boss herself) Akua Nyame-Mensah, there are two kinds of horrible bosses: those who know they are horrible and don’t care, and those who are completely unaware that they are too blame for a bad working environment.

Listen all the way to the end for ways to tell if you are - or have - a horrible boss and three actionable steps leaders can take to impact the workplace positively and help keep employees mentally healthy, happy, and more productive. Horrible bosses can be cured!

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Highlights in this Episode:

  • Akua talks about what a toxic work culture looks like, including fighting, drama, and unhappiness, which affect wellbeing and productivity.
  • Realizing there is a problem is the first step, and
  • A toxic work environment can include remote work, not just in-office work.
  • When employees are bullied, they don’t feel safe to be themselves or show up in a meaningful way.
  • Don’t wait for negative feedback to find out you’re a terrible boss. Educate yourself.
  • Bad communication/passive-aggressive communication is a sign of a horrible boss.
  • Excluding some employees, gossip and cliques are other red flags in the workplace.
  • Deadline changes, moving the goalpost, and a lack of expectation setting will have a negative effect on employees.
  • Some symptoms of a bad boss in the workplace include unmotivated employees, stifled growth, and rapid turnover.
  • In order to change, leaders must first have self-awareness and reflect on how they show up and how their actions affect others.
  • Akua talks about her definition of a leader - someone who ensures every team member has what they need to do meaningful work.
  • Good leadership means making time to check in and getting external feedback from those who are not in an equivalent position as you.
  • Good bosses set realistic goals, can ask for help (be vulnerable), are willing to engage, and invest in policies and procedures from the beginning.
  • For a positive work environment, be sure to educate everyone and ensure your team is on the same page.
  • Don’t be afraid to look for help - Akua would love to have a consultation call with you, and she can help provide resources or work with you, your choice.

Resources Mentioned in this episode:
Article on toxic work environment from Career Contessa


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