I believe you've captured the heart of the matter in this statement: Radar captures the boss at the time as a wrongdoer only in traces.
For you see, it is all about perceptions.[b][/b]
Overwhelmingly, people do leave bosses, as opposed to leaving jobs. It truly does NOT mean that the boss is "bad." It means that one's perception is negative (or bad).
In my case with the story I told, I am more than willing to admit (now) that in all likelihood, he was not a bad boss. I was simply incapable of moving forward from the one I perceived as wonderful with the replacement, whom I perceived to be a jack-a**. Doesn't mean he was one (and...doesn't mean he wasn't). My perception of him was he was an arrogant so-and-so who devalued me by making me pick my work up from off the floor.
There are 'bad bosses' out there, but I believe they are the exception. I believe, as a boss, that it is incumbent on me to be aware of the perceptions staff hold. Whether those perceptions are valid or not is, in a great sense, moot. That they exist is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.
Perceptions are typically unspoken judgments. At least unspoken to the target involved. It is my duty (to organization, to staff and peers, and to self) to continually seek them out through asking for feedback, then addressing them to the best of my ability. Which does not mean I have to "fix" anything. But awareness is, I think, 9/10's of the solution.
I had a very hard case of this over this past spring/summer. Brought someone on board who had always worked independently, and it was so exciting, This person brought certain skills and experiences much required by this organization. I felt quite certain that together, we would simply ROCK.
So here I am, knowing what I know, and bringing in the lone wolf to try to make duck soup to share. And there this person was, very used to be the sole decision maker, suddenly thrust into a team situation. In very short order, the organization was in severe pain. We are very small, very cohesive, so it doesn't take much to hit a tipping point.
Our approaches were oil and water. I prefer collaboration. Lone wolves tend to shy away from that concept. I faced charges of unfairness, unprofessionalism, bad decision making, egotism, favoritism. We received instability and undependability. At the end, this person would bring children into the work environment without notice or regard, would not bother to show up at the office until everyone else was leaving for the day, and routed all business correspondence through personal channels, including encouraging customers to use a personal cell phone rather than call our office.
I know this person is absolutely convinced I am the worst boss to ever walk the planet. I own this failure, and now spend my pensive time trying to understand what I did and what I did not do correctly and incorrectly in the hope that should I face this again, I handle it in a manner that results in a win all the way around. (And there is my controlling nature shining thru! Absolutely convinced that if I do the "right" thing, everyone will be happy. Just have to swim, dip, dive, duck and dodge until I find the 'right' thing!! ha!!)