I had a “bad” boss once. He was bad enough that it made it easy for me to move on when I had another opportunity presented to me.

What made him “bad?”

He criticized publicly. He had no problem telling you in front of others when you had fallen short. You felt embarrassed if you were the victim. You also felt embarrassed to watch it happen to someone else. The net effect was the whole team lost respect.

He “killed” the messenger. He reacted negatively if you dared tell him something he didn’t want to hear. He’d criticize. He’d blame. He’d condemn. You learned quickly to shield him from bad news. The negative experience kept you behind a shield. The result was that communication was awful.

He was very smart, so his opinion mattered more than anyone else’s. The result was that no one made suggestions. No creative discussion ever happened. Everyone sat on their hands with their mouths shut. It was a challenge to grow on his watch. He didn’t inspire confidence. He stifled development.

His feedback was exclusively negative. I worked for him for 30 months. I can’t recall one positive feedback session. It caused me to look in other places to get affirmation. I wasn’t motivated to do anything extra. He got as much as necessary from me. Nothing more.

We believe bosses make a huge difference. If we have bad bosses, we will suffer.

When you’re in a position to lead, remember your influence on your team members and the results you achieve. It matters.