At Least 10 More Things to Stop Doing if You’re the Boss

A few years ago, I wrote a post entitled, “At Least 20 Things to Stop Doing as a Leader” Reader comments quickly quadrupled that number. It seems there’s no shortage of Bad Boss habits.

Here’s a few more “fresh” suggestions  provided by clients for publication purposes since I wrote the original post.  (Note to readers, this and the predecessor post with comments are ideal for printing and quietly leaving behind on the boss’s chair.)

At Least 10 More Things to Stop Doing if You’re the Boss:

1. Cut what? Don’t expect us to heed your words on austerity/change/doing more with less if you’re not changing and you’re not cutting back. And thanks for telling me all about your new boat two weeks after we took a pay cut.  That was special.

2. Accountability is for Everyone. Stop avoiding THE performance problem on the team. We’re watching your own performance on this one, and you’re credibility clock is just about out of time.

3. If I Need a Friend, I’ll Get a Dog. Stop trying to be my friend and focus on being my boss. I need a boss who tells me what I’m doing right and importantly, what I’m doing wrong and holds me accountable to improving on all fronts. I don’t need someone who uses a faux friendship to avoid helping me grow.

4. Fewer Clown Rodeos, Please. Quit descending upon our facility like a conquering general expecting a parade. If you have to show up, why not show up unannounced and see what happens on a day when we’re all focused on working instead of worrying about entertaining the clown from corporate.

5. They Can’t All Be Strategic! Stop saying “yes” to every project that comes along. You’ve more than succeeded at ensuring that we have too few resources chasing too many projects. It’s time to learn that powerful word, “No.”

6. How Old Are You? Quit yelling at us in public. Come to think of it, quit yelling at us. Grow up.

7. Everyone on the Planet Except You Knows This! Stop shooting down our ideas in brainstorming meetings. You must have missed the day in life when they taught ALL OF US the rules of effective brainstorming.

8. Quit Hiding Under Your Desk. Stop dodging the angry customer calls and dumping them back on us. You might learn something.

9. Everyone on the Planet Except You Knows This, part 2. Quit trying to pass off your growth targets as strategies. Growth is an outcome, not a strategy!

10. Stop. Reverse That. Quit taking credit for everything that goes right and passing off blame for everything that goes wrong. You’ve got that backwards.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

If you’re the boss and you’re doing any of the above, cut it out. Seriously.

If you’ve got some more polite or not so polite suggestions for the boss, feel free to pass them along.

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Art Petty is a Chicago-based management consultant focusing on strategy and leadership development. Art regularly speaks on innovation in management and leadership, and his work is reflected in two books, including the recent, Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development.  Art publishes regularly at The Management Excellence blog at

Prior to his solo career, Art spent 20+ years leading marketing sales and business units in systems and software organizations around the globe. You can follow Art on twitter: @artpetty and he can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]


By |2016-10-22T17:11:31+00:00March 19th, 2012|Leadership|10 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


  1. Jesse Stoner March 19, 2012 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Hi Art, This is a great checklist. If a leader is doing all of these, they’re in big trouble. But I bet most of us can honestly admit to doing one or two of them. I especially love #3 – too often we avoid giving people the feedback they need to grow and be effective under to guise of caring about them. I also like #5 because it’s all too common, and is what causes us to be overloaded with too many priorities and stuck with conflicting priorities.

    • Art Petty March 19, 2012 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Thanks, Jesse! OK, I confess to have a few guilt pangs on a couple of these at different points in time. Mea Culpa! And yes, the #5 is an insidious morale and productivity killer. Always thrilled to have your insights here, Jesse! -Art

  2. Susan March 20, 2012 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Number 4 is a particularly good one. How can any boss hope to get a very real picture of what goes on in a company if any visits are announced well ahead of time and giving people time to put their best foot forward? Not to mention that some really terrible bosses drop in to simply be seen, and not because they’re genuinely interested in the problems, issues, or the welfare of the office.

    • Art Petty March 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      The “Boss Drive By” or “Boss Parade” is particularly disturbing. Certainly, when the boss has a positive motive…and does something with what he/she learns, this can work fine. The post speaks to the extremes as you highlight. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Susan! Best, -Art

  3. Mike Brown March 23, 2012 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Great stuff – I giggled at a few…

    #11 – Stop crushing morale with the word “BUT”…

    That is a great idea “BUT”…. I love where you are going with that “BUT”… Translation – None of your ideas are useful to me – so why don’t you go back into your cube and stay there until I call on you…

    • Art Petty March 23, 2012 at 6:46 am - Reply

      Thanks, Mike! Chuckling at your comment. I recognize the issue you describe as the never tasty “But” Sandwich. Cheers, -Art

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  6. John Hunter April 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    I know the employment picture might not be great but if you boss does much of this to any significant degree also think about getting a better job (unless there are big benefits to offset the negatives).

    • Art Petty April 19, 2012 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Agreed, John! -Art

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