How to Tell if your Boss is a Leader or an Intimidator

Knowing which type of boss you work for doesn’t happen in the interview process, sometimes it may even take a while for them to show their true colors. One thing rings true for every boss: they either criticize or provide feedback, and there are significant ramifications of both.

First to understand the difference between the two, let’s look at their respective definitions as defined by Merriam-Webster:

Criticism – to express disapproval of: to talk about the problems or faults

Feedback – helpful information or [helpful] criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc.

As you can see they are both relatively similar, with the exception of a couple things.

Feedback is pieces of advice or (even criticism) that are actually helpful to the person being evaluated, it is showing them that while the work they are doing is not exactly satisfactory, they can improve by doing certain things.
Criticism is simple, “I don’t like it,” “no that doesn’t work,” “Delete this,” you get the point. Criticism is not providing helpful feedback or commentary, it is the act of degrading or condemning someone or someone’s work without a way of improvement.

How could this affect leadership?

Managers or bosses should always strive to help their employees reach for higher and higher goals, striving for success every time. A manager is only as successful as his team; bad team=bad management.  No manager or boss should ever be putting his employees down, or making them feel inferior in his presence; that is not a leader, that is a intimidator. A leader helps develop their employees into what is best for the company. An intimidator gives information to his employees to be regurgitated, basically his words, typed or performed by the employee. That way if something ever goes wrong, he has the employee to put the blame on with an, “I never said that,” or a “you misunderstood me.”

A leader provides feedback that is encouraging to the employee to resolve the issue, without feeling like a total failure. An intimidator says it’s wrong or they don’t like it without any kind of constructive advice behind it. So, how does this affect leadership exactly? One way to see if a leader is successful is retention: are employees sticking around? If that answer is yes, then generally, he must be doing something right. With so many opportunities out there, people aren’t sticking around in jobs where they feel unappreciated and undervalued. Now, on the flip side, does he have constant turn-around in his department, people asking to move to other departments, or complaints to higher up constantly about his behavior? Then, he’s probably a bad leader. A lot of the time bad leaders don’t just affect their department, their intimidation tactics stretch throughout the entire company.

How can you change your criticism to feedback?

This is easy, rather than condescendingly telling someone what you think of their work, provide a solution and utilize the sandwich method. This is: compliment – feedback/ways to improve – compliment.

The Sandwich Method


Feedback/Ways to Improve


An example of feedback using the sandwich method:

Hey Susan I really appreciate you getting me a draft on that blog so quickly. I do think we can work together to create a better headline though, something like “5 Ways to Tell Your Dog Loves You.” Also, I really enjoyed the part about the different dog breeds and their affection levels. We can meet to discuss this if you’d like, what do you think?

An example of criticism:

Susan, the headline has got to go, it doesn’t even make sense. Send me a new draft ASAP.

In this example we see Susan has written a blog about dogs and their affection towards their owners. Susan’s boss isn’t digging (get it) and wants a better headline. After reading both email examples, which one do you think would get a better reaction out of Susan? Example 1 still tells Susan she needs to change the title, without being condescending or patronizing. In example 2, we see the type of boss that criticizes work: he provides no constructive feedback, no ways of improving, and no collaboration. In example 2, Susan would probably get defensive. She’d do the project, but wouldn’t have pride in her work, or pride in her job. Trust me, by this point, Susan has already hit up ZipRecruiter. Example 1 thanks her for providing the work quickly, offers a solution to the problem at hand, and even offers collaboration in case Susan wants to take the lead on the headline herself, this example would bode a completely different reaction out of Susan.

How you talk to people goes a long way

It really all boils down to how you talk to people. Employee retention has a lot to do with happiness. We’re no longer in the age where people stay at jobs no matter how bad they are treated. Now, people want to be happy in their jobs, and who wouldn’t? You’re there for 40 hours a week, some people spend more time at work than they do with their own kids, so why wouldn’t you want to be happy in that kind of environment? People are leaving even if that means taking a pay cut, just so they can have a work-life balance that doesn’t make them miserable, and one thing getting people out the door faster than ever: condescending, criticizing bosses.

So, which one are you: are you a leader, or are you an intimidator?

Better yet, which one do you work for?

A Crash Course on Landing Page Copy

A landing page is defined by Unbouce as: “In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad or similar.” So in essence, a landing page is a blip of your website that is custom tailored to a specific promotion you are running.

Landing page copy is incredibly important. It is where your would-be customers go when they click on an ad, so they have to be intrigued enough to follow through on your landing page. There are 6 things that are absolutely critical to a successful landing page creation, and of course I’m going to explain them all to you.

Headline and Sub-Headline

These go hand in hand for every. single. piece of copy you write. A captivating headline should always attract your readers after less than 3 seconds, you don’t have long, especially on the internet so you better wow them from the get-go. I can promise you, if your headline sucks, your conversion rate will suck. A good headline addresses a problem that you want to solve. Today our example is going to be getting people to register for a webinar that will show them how to use their iPhone.

Endless Information at Your Fingertips

As you can see we created an intriguing headline with a problem we want to solve for them, there’s a whole bunch of information out there for them, and they don’t know how to get to it (we’ll tell them how to solve it in the sub-headline).

Learn the ins and outs of how to operate your iPhone

See, we are telling them what we’re doing, and how it directly correlates to the headline.

So now I’ve caught the attention of the reader, because I have already targeted them with ads on being a new iPhone user, or being a beginner in the iPhone realm, and they have landed on my landing page wanting to know more.

Body Copy

Body copy for a landing page should be short and sweet. Because this is a webinar, I plan to say a short blurb about the webinar and detail in bullets the topics I will cover.

During this live webinar on July 12th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET, we will go into detail on how to use your new iPhone XS and the new features revealed with its release. In this webinar we will discuss:

  • How to use portrait mode
  • How to add parental controls to other devices
  • Hidden features
  • And much more!

As you can see, in my body copy I said what I’m doing (webinar), when I’m doing it (July 12th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET), and what I’ll be covering (bullet list). The 3 basic things a reader would need to know in order to register for my webinar.

Form (Lead Capture)

The most important thing that needs to be on your landing page, is a method in which your users can buy/register/sign-up/download whatever it is you want them to do. Since we’re doing a webinar, we’ll be asking them to register for it. (Don’t say “sign-up” for a webinar, you sign-up to receive a newsletter, you sign-up to play tee-ball, you register to attend something). So in order to register for a webinar we have to get them to fill out a form. A form is huge in the landing page world. A form is a method in which you’ll capture the lead because they want to be captured, you don’t have to farm for these leads, or cold call, or any other grimey method. These people want to be contacted and they are giving you everything you need to do so. Form copy is super duper easy. Always remember: The shorter the form, the better it performs. Don’t make them fill out frivolous details, stick to the bare minimum.  Our form will look something like this: (please note: this is NOT a designing a landing page demo *I’ll get to that another day* this is simply for copy, so ignore the grey color and basic fonts)

Notice how my form is short, i have 3 required fields, and 1 optional field, and my call to action button stands out and tells them exactly what I want to do.

Call To Action

The 5th most important thing in your landing page copy ties in directly with your form, a call to action. A call to action is simply telling your reader/future-customer what you want them do to. In this example, I want them to register for this webinar, and I want them to do it now. So, my call to action is simply Register Now. If you want people to sign-up for your newsletter, it could be Sign-Up Today, if you want people to download your eBook it could be Download Now. You see where I’m going with this right? A great CTA is short and bossy. Don’t be afraid to tell people what to do, if you’re timid, you won’t get results. Be bossy, be blunt, and be straightforward. Don’t put a bunch of foo-foo text in your body and CTA because you’re trying to get awesome SEO, if you’re concise and direct in your body copy the SEO will come with it.

Contact Section

The last important thing to include in your landing page copy is a contact section. Give people a way to contact you if they have questions. A contact section doesn’t need to include a map with your exact whereabouts, but a simple Contact Us section with an email address (and maybe even a phone number) is the bare minimum you should include. Don’t just put a phone number, people nowadays don’t want to talk on the phone, they’d rather text. So unless you have a text bot, an email address will suffice.

Find this guide helpful? Share us on Facebook & LinkedIn. Have a comment you’d like to add? Go to the Contact Page above and let me know!