Most people have experienced a difficult boss. Whether they micromanage, play favorites or offer little feedback, these kinds of bosses can complicate your professional life. However, not all difficult bosses are the same. In fact, Maxim Dsouza, a self-improvement blogger, asserts that a clear distinction exists between difficult bosses—they are either tough bosses or bad bosses.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Dsouza’s thoughts on how to tell the difference between a tough manager and a bad one.

Feedback. Bad bosses often provide feedback that is hurtful or humiliating. They typically point out only the mistakes and often do so in front of others. Tough bosses, on the other hand, provide meaningful feedback, even though you may not always like to hear it. They know their comments will help their employees grow and serve the overall good of the team. Tough bosses know how to provide the right feedback at the right time, and they avoid pointers that are personal or offensive, says Dsouza.

Delegation. Micromanagement is a sure sign of a bad boss. These kinds of bosses usually need to control every aspect of every project and do not trust their team members to make the best decision. Tough bosses, however, allow their team members to take the lead and point out improvements when needed, says Dsouza. Tough bosses encourage their sales reps to use their own thinking and trust them in high-pressure situations.

Focus. Bad bosses seldom care how their employees are doing or feeling as long as the work is getting done. If something goes awry, they are quick to pounce like a hyena, says Dsouza. Rather than only caring about the work, tough bosses care about their people. They call out subpar work, but they also commend employees who work hard and improve their skills. Tough bosses know that if they take care of their team members, the tasks will get accomplished.

Presence. When mistakes happen, bad bosses are usually quick to place blame on their employees. When victories happen, they are quick to take the credit. On the other hand, tough bosses step up when things do not go as planned, says Dsozua. When people panic, they help calm their team and get things back on track. They also step aside and let their employees enjoy the attention of success.

Establishing expectations. Bad bosses often do not know what they want. They change their mind frequently and leave their employees scrambling to meet unattainable goals or difficult deadlines. Dsouza notes that tough bosses do the opposite—they set goals that are challenging but not beyond reach, and they make sure their team members understand what is expected of them.

No one sets out to be a bad boss. If you notice any traits of a bad boss on your team or in yourself, take some time to consider how you can change course. Respected, effective and tough leaders know how to bring out the best in their employees. They know how to coach, develop and mentor their team members to become the best they can be. When you focus on improving your own leadership and helping other managers on your team, you will create a happier culture and a more productive sales team.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Maxim Dsouza is a self-improvement blogger who writes about productivity, time management, entrepreneurship and cognitive biases.