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5 signs your boss is clueless

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in Dealing with Bosses,HR Management,Management Training

Experts say many bosses are clueless about how they come across to employees. Five signs your boss may be one of them:

1. Most of his e-mails are only one word.

Efficient, yes. But one-word e-mails—even a simple “yes” or “no”—are more curt than many bosses realize, says Barbara Pachter, a management coach and author. Call it the “BlackBerry effect.”

“Managers have a tendency to be abrupt, especially when they’re answering e-mails on the go,” Pachter says. “It comes off as an invitation for conflict. A simple addition of ‘thanks’ goes a long way.”

Example: When Christina Marcus e-mailed an idea for a project to a former boss, he responded “Y.” Think­ing he was questioning her idea, she spent 20 minutes crafting a response. Turns out, the “Y” meant “yes,” not “why.”

2. He rarely talks face-to-face with you and other employees.

Many bosses use technology as a convenient shortcut, rather than holding tough discussions in person.

“No one wants to do the dirty work, but it’s a boss’s lot in life to deal with difficult issues,” says Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Face-time engenders trust.

3. Your co-workers are out sick—a lot.

Employees fake sickness to avoid a bad boss, says Sutton. And there’s evidence that a bad boss may be bad for your health. One Swedish study found that, of 3,000 men, the ones who said they were poorly managed at work were 20% to 40% more likely to have a heart attack.

4. Your team works overtime but still misses deadlines.

Giving unmanageable deadlines to team members is typical of a boss who’s just come on board, says Gini Graham Scott, author of A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses.

5. He yells.

At a former job, says Marcus, “My bosses would shout freely across the office, even when they weren’t necessarily angry. It charged the atmos­phere and really killed productivity.”

Even speaking loudly can damage workplace morale, says Pachter. “Em­­ployees will constantly feel like they’re being reprimanded, and they’ll avoid the boss if there’s ever a problem,” she says.

— Adapted from “Five Signs You’re a Bad Boss,” Diana Middleton, The Wall Street Journal.

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