It's not what you do but what you don't do that matters.
Conjure up the term "bad boss" and what comes to mind? Scenes of red-faced people berating subordinates in public. Smarmy souls taking credit for other people's work or saying one thing and doing another. Cutting remarks. Yelling. Feel free to continue — we're sure you can.
This is iconic bad boss behavior — defining in our minds the very essence of what bad bosses do. When we see these things portrayed on TV or in the movies, we can't help laughing, even while we're thinking "Whew! I don't do those things; I'm not a bad boss."
But, not so fast. Our research suggests that the offensive actions so often associated with being a bad boss make up less than 20% of the behavior that actually defines the worst bosses.