The internet loves lists, and there’s no shortage of “bad manager” lists out there in cyberspace. From Seven Signs You Are a Bad Manager to Seven Signs You Have a Bad Manager, each tries to prove more insightful than the rest.
Using a highly scientific approach (Google searching and our ability to count), we’ve scoured the popular business sites, made a master list of every bad-manager quality identified, and sorted them by frequency of appearance. These six “signs you’re a bad manager” showed up the most often:
- You’re hypercritical of staff/ yell at people
- You’re overly emotional/ reactive
- You take credit for other people’s work
- You micromanage your staff
- You don’t give performance feedback
- You don’t communicate expectations
This is hardly a comprehensive range of bad management habits. “You don’t have the personality for management” appeared in only one article, yet that one encompasses almost all the reasons someone is a bad manager. At any rate, the six listed above are the hot buttons.
It’s not surprising, as all these management habits are likely to elicit similarly negative emotional reactions in staff members. The problem with such lists is that they don’t talk about the costs: employee turnover, lost productivity, and wasted resources. Nor do they talk about how to avoid these bad management qualities in the first place.
Coaching can certainly help, but before you make a management hire, it helps to look at the performance competencies that are connected to leadership success.
If your management candidate displays the Leadership Maturity competency, she should be able overcome the first two challenges on our greatest hits list above, since she is unlikely to make it personal when problems occur or when people disagree with her. The Delegating competency is about understanding the strengths and capabilities of each team member and empowering them to take ownership of their duties. Say goodbye to micromanagement and credit hogging. Finally, a manager who displays the Directing and Coaching and Development competencies will see the value in setting goals and expectations and providing constructive performance feedback so their team members know what it takes to succeed.
Contrary to whatever fears are inspired by all those “Bad Manager” articles, there are indeed plenty of job candidates out there who show the dynamics needed to stay off the greatest hits list of horror above. One of them could be your next hire.