At some point in your career, you will have a bad manager. Sometimes, you may have more than one bad manager. And everyone in the organization usually knows who the bad managers are. Everyone except for the bad managers themselves. There are many lazy, sorry, awful, and downright terrible bosses who seem to think that they’re doing a good job.
Ironically, many of these bad managers were themselves victims of bad bosses. They hated their selfish and incompetent managers, and vowed that if they ever made it to the ranks of leadership, they would have a totally different management style. However, there’s a saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and managers and politicians seem particularly susceptible to the vices of power.
Often bad managers are a result of the company culture. And as with other relationships, there’s a tendency to do whatever will be tolerated. For example, pets will do whatever their owners (or the politically correct “pet parents”) will allow. Children will push the boundaries to see what their parents will tolerate. Some employees will skirt the rules to see what they can get away with. And bad managers are allowed to flourish and thrive – well actually, they’re allowed to grow like fungi and infect the organization – because upper management allows them to.
Sometimes bad managers are friends or family members of those in upper management, and there is a reluctance to hold them accountable because doing so would negatively affect the relationship balance. Sometimes, bad managers may be subject matter experts, and more emphasis is placed on their vast knowledge base than on their treatment of subordinates. And sometimes, the entire company has a “top-down” management approach, which values managers over employees.
Regardless of the reason, if left unchecked, a bad manager stresses and demotivates workers, actually lowering productivity levels and causing high turnover rates. And most companies are forced to deal with them sooner or later.
So how do you know if maybe you’re not cut out to be a manager? Keep reading to discover some potential warning signs.
You Never Listen To The Ideas Of Others
Everyone likes to be right, and most people think they’re right more often than they are. In fact, some people have a tendency to embrace their own ideas while rejecting the ideas of others. However, when you’re a manager, you need to exercise restraint in this area.
It is your job to foster teamwork and create an environment where everyone feels that their opinions and ideas matter. But, if you’re the type of person who can never accept a different viewpoint or a suggestion to change the way things have always been done, your workers will learn to keep their ideas and comments to themselves. And over time, they won’t even tell you when there are major problems that need to be addressed. They’ll just stand by and watch you drive off the cliff.
It’s your job to manage. However, it’s not your job to micromanage. According to Kim Thompson in The Houston Chronicle, a micromanager is “one who manages with excessive control or attention on details.” However, you can’t be that person. Yes, you’re ultimately responsible for the work being completed on time, on budget, and to specifications.
However, if you’re obsessed with controlling every single aspect of every worker’s job, you’re wasting the company’s money. It doesn’t need two people to perform the same tasks. Either you’re doing to do the work, or you’re doing to let the employees do it. And, no, they may not do it exactly the way you would do it, but if the results are the same, chill out.
You Speak Negatively To/Of Your Employees
As a manager, there are ways to instruct and correct employers. None of these should involve such phrases as stupid, incompetent, dim-witted, and hopeless. There’s a difference between “Bob, we need to examine your work,” and “Bob, you totally screwed this up.” And it’s twice as bad when managers badmouth their employees to other people in the organization. “I’ve got the dumbest team in the company. They’re just worthless,” does nothing to address problems – which may be real – or to motivate the workers to do better. And as for screaming and shouting, maybe your kids have to put up with that, but other adults don’t.
You Don’t Know Your People
It’s almost impossible to effectively manage people that you don’t know. If you’re the type of person who would prefer to say, “Hi Bob. Please do this,” and then you disappear for the rest of the day, you may need to rethink your management aspirations.
You should be able to gauge if Bob is having a good day or not, and you should be able to give him assignments based on his strengths. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out for drinks with Bob and attend his kids’ softball games. However, if you don’t even know if Bob has kids or not, you’re too distant as a manager, and you’re treating him as a means to an ends instead of treating him as a person.
You Have A High Turnover Rate
Workers are always looking for better employment opportunities. However, if your workers are jumping ship at a higher rate than everyone else, perhaps you’re the problem. And if you don’t really care that your workers would jump ship, you’re definitely the problem.
“I don’t have a problem, she does,” may work for one employee. But two, three, four, five, six? If all of your employees want to leave your team, let’s look at the common denominator. And that could be you.
You Don’t Manage Objectively
Yes, you have workers who slack off, but you really like them because they bring doughnuts, or you share the same hobbies, or you just “click” with them. So you let them come in late, leave early, and stand around talking. On the other hand, you have some really hard-working employees but you disagree with their political views, or perhaps they’re not as social and talkative as you would like for them to be.
So you favor the employees that you’re comfortable around, and you tend to give them the best assignments and the most leniency. However, this leadership style is a recipe for disaster. You should judge your workers by their work, and not by other irrelevant criteria. If this seems too hard to do, it’s a strong indication that you are not management material.
Management involves more than a title and a pay raise. It’s not as easy as it seems. You must balance objectiveness with compassion, and you’ll need to lead, motivate, coach and sometimes discipline employees, while treating them as individuals. Good managers realize the value of their workers and treat them accordingly, which creates a positive and productive work environment.
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