To Bad Bosses: Easy Ways to Stifle Creativity (and Shift the Blame Elsewhere)!

Jeff Hayden dropped an awesome post on LinkedIn this morning that every leader boss should go read, especially the ones who think they’re already a great leader and don’t need advice (just ask them).

“Whipping out a cliché allows a leader to avoid explaining, avoid justifying, avoid having a deeper and more meaningful conversation… in short, avoid being a real leader.”
Jeff Hayden

The post, Business Clichés Lazy Bosses Love to Use, drives right at the heart of the reasons people quit managers, not companies, because when people have a lazy/conceited/narrow-minded boss who can’t see past their own nose glory, superstars never stay, while those who remain abide out their grey existences in meager half-truths and yes-sir-ing their boss while trying to lie to themselves that a job with no future, no real creativity and no opportunity to actually grow is better than no job at all.

In the post, Hayden starts right in with my favorite lazy leadership cliché:

“We need to work smarter, not harder.”

“Irritating for a few reasons. One, you imply I’m stupid. (Otherwise why would I need to work smarter?) Two, you imply that whatever I’m doing should take a lot less time and effort. Three, you leave it to me to figure out what “smarter” means (if “smarter” even exists) when I obviously don’t know or I’d already be doing it that way.

“And four, I know you don’t mean the “we” part.

“If you know I can be more efficient, tell me how. If you know there is a better way, show me how. If you think there might be a better way but don’t know what it is, admit you don’t know and work with me to figure it out.

“And, most importantly, recognize that sometimes the only thing to do, especially in the moment, is to buckle down and get it done – so stop talking and start helping.”

And there’s several more in the original post. You should check through these subtle hints to help you recognize you’re a bad boss because, as Stephen R. Covey as you think you are, you’re might actually be more Michael Scott than you want to admit.

Also, if you’re dealing with a bad boss right now at work, never fear. Here’s a survival manual while you find something new and the below is proof that, as lame as your situation is…at least you’re not alone:


The following two tabs change content below.

Robert Merrill

Senior Technical Recruiter
I am a Husband, Dad, Recruitinator, Geek. Mormon. Smart-Alec. . Professionally, I am the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at", the world's largest online family history resource. Check out our jobs! Since 2001, I have helped connect companies and talented professionals with a particular style of recruiting, interviewing, onboarding and retention that helps companies change their recruiting processes and capabilities forever. I believe that even small companies can do fantastic recruiting with the right tools and mindset.

Leave a Reply