Bad Managers are great! Not for employees or the companies that employ them, but, for those of us tasked with creating web content, they are gold. Google the topic and see for yourself.
Last week, we examined the recent online chatter and compiled a greatest-hits list of bad leadership behaviors. That post featured the six habits that showed up most often on popular business and HR sites’ “Signs You Are a Bad Manager” articles. Some of those issues seem repairable (“You don’t give performance feedback”), and others (“You yell at everyone and react emotionally”) may be more difficult to correct.
But far more than six bad-manager habits turned up in our research. We found 40, actually, including poor hygiene. Which, to be fair, isn’t a problem exclusive to managers. In fact, it has little to do with leadership potential, so let’s backtrack and say we found 39. If Listerine or Irish Spring ever get into the business of blogging about talent management, they can consider that one a freebie from us.
The truth is, not everyone is cut out for management, which is why pre-employment assessments are helpful in identifying potential red flags related to leadership performance. But some habits are fairly easy to fix. If a new hire or longstanding manager in your organization exhibits any of these four “bad manager” signs, a mindset adjustment may be all that’s needed:
- No plan for meeting goals.
You’d be surprised how many managers leave staff members in the dark on how to get from A to B. A quick meeting where you agree upon a goal, establish a timeline, clarify assignments, and let people know exactly what is expected by the next check-in may be all that’s needed to overhaul the process. No special training or advanced analytical skills are needed to map out a basic project plan. Accountability and understanding help, though.
- Does not offer recognition or praise.
So simple it hurts that more managers don’t do it. Did a staff member step up and accomplish a task or implement an improvement? Give credit!
- Does not empower staff.
Some managers are too controlling or untrusting to let others take ownership of departmental projects and tasks. The time required to train staff members on new tasks returns the investment many times over when those staff members become more satisfied with, and productive in, their jobs. There’s no mystery here: Responsibility and accomplishment motivate most employees, so why limit that opportunity?
- Does not consider the personality of staff members.
“Firm, but fair” sounds like a reasonable approach, but it’s simplistic. The direct approach may work best with outspoken, confident staff, whereas reserved employees might require a softer touch. Furthermore, some employees want autonomy while others prefer collaboration. And so on. Here’s where pre-employment reports come in handy yet again, as they show what motivates each team member and provide a foundation for coaching and development.