A Classic Post from the NSCBlog Archive
Originally posted on February 1, 2008

I recently asked a ten-year+ Team Member to complete an evaluation of me. Here it is:

1. Have you ever publicly criticized an employee?

2. Do you take credit for your employees’ work?

3. Do your employees fear you?
The Regional Property Managers might. Don’t know about others. Sometimes I’d rather avoid you if you’re “in a mood” where nothing I do is right, but I’m not fearful.

4. Do you expect employees to do what you tell them without question?

5. Do you believe employees should know what to do without you telling them or providing guidelines?

6. Are you a yeller?
Only once in a while when you do the “lean over and pound your desk” thing!

7. Do you demean employees as a form of punishment?

8. Do you play favorites?

9. Do you hate delegating?

10. Do you check everyone’s work?
Numbers, yes

Best bosses have these attributes:

– Are humble
You’re not. You want recognition, validation. Not necessarily a bad thing. Just interesting.

– Have integrity
I sometimes think you say one thing but do another. One of your recent blogs states you have “a sincere desire to seek and understand other viewpoints.” But I’m not sure in office situations you listen long enough and hard enough to truly do so. You often cut people off with the dreaded time-out hand gesture.

NSC Comment:
1) I teach what I most want/need to learn
2) I do get impatient if I feel someone is taking his or her time getting to the bottom line. I’m not completely sure this is 100% bad, although it should always be done as respectful of others’ dignity as possible.

I’m also reminded of a Property Manager’s comments to you of a few weeks ago. This PM wrote, “I know that TMs respond better (and thus serve proudly, with more distinction, etc.) when we walk our talk, mainly in the area of caring for our properties and in making resources available to them.” I’ve always known that many on-property people believe they’re not getting the resources they need. Obviously the economics of running a property plays a large part in this, and they’ll always want more funds than they’re given. Are we doing all we can/should?

– Know what they are talking about

– Let me get on with things
Yes. But this is not always a good thing. See below “improving employees’ shortcomings.”

– Are always there when I need help
Yes, except when you’re not! This most often affects me when you’re on a “strategic thinking” jag. You don’t want to get into the details of something, but most often the details are what will trip me up. So if I can’t find out exactly how you want something done, or anticipate properly what you do want done, I choose not to do anything for fear of your “Why didn’t you do it ‘this way,” when you didn’t tell what ‘this way’ was before I started.

Worst bosses, it’s said, have these deficiencies:

– Never seem to be around when I need them
Me, yes (spoke with you about this last night and see “were always there when I needed help”). Don’t think this is an issue for CE or PPMT, especially in the last few months.

– Always ask me to justify what I want to do
I think you do, yes? See “were always there when I needed help.” It’s not that you’re not physically reachable, you’re just not always emotionally reachable. Don’t know about your C-level direct reports, but I also expect this is a yes.

– Always want to know what I am doing

– Often say ‘no, we can’t do that’
Don’t know about often, but I’m sure you have, especially if it involves bottom line and control.

– Give the impression of being distrustful

– Don’t smile much

– Talk about themselves a lot.
Don’t think you talk a lot about yourself to most employees, but do think you talk more than you listen.

Advice to bosses is to “stop immediately” if they are doing any of the following:

– You don’t give employees a clear and compelling company direction. When people align themselves with the company’s goals, they are free to invent, to improvise, to innovate, to inspire each other.
I’m not sure what the clear and compelling company (CE) direction is, other than to grow. Am I the only one?

– You say important things only once. If the message is important, it is worth repeating.
Your blog is a step toward this. Also think you do this anyway. It sometimes astounds me that others don’t often hear you. Are you inconsistent? I don’t know.

– You don’t hold employees accountable.
Yes, you do.

– You concentrate on trying to improve employees’ shortcomings. “Bad bosses waste too much energy on employee makeovers. Don’t worry about weaknesses — instead, figure out what employees are really good at and train them to be brilliant.”
I don’t know that this is something you do. But I often think you allow people to get pretty far down a road you don’t agree with before pulling them back onto your track. I often wonder why they don’t see your track in the first place, unless they think they have a better way. In the end, it’s usually your way or it’s not done, again, especially if it might affect your bottom line or your control.