10 Tips To Spot A Bad Manager by The Work Advisor
The perfect manager doesn’t exist. It’s important that employees understand this. Once employees do, it becomes easier to realize that everyone is human and managers just like everyone else will have bad days. But this is not a bad manager, this is just a normal colleague. A bad manager can be spotted by employees if they know what to look for. In fact a bad manager can be spotted BEFORE even taking a job.
The Work Advisor Definition Of A Manager
In order for an employee to succeed, a manager must be competent, understanding, knowledgeable about both the company and its products as well as the employees and what they are being asked to accomplish. A manager must be able to establish clear and realistic goals for employees and be able to support them, direct them and literally inspire them to succeed. A bad manager can ruin a colleague’s career, poison a workplace environment and place a mood of depression that can literally make employees physically ill, non-responsive and unproductive. A bad manager reaches beyond the workplace environment and will affect employees home and intimate personal lives that have no bearing on the workplace at all. In short a bad manager should be avoided at all costs by employees.
For every great manager there are many mediocre ones and lots of bad ones. Here are ten tips from The Work Advisor on how to spot a Bad Manager.
10 Work Advisor Tips On Spotting A Bad Manager
1) Today we live in a world of high-tech gadgets and instant messaging. Yet if your manager cannot give you their undivided attention for a short period, this is a sign of a bad manager. If during an interview your prospective manager continually checks email, blackberry, iPhones and all manner of devices you may be considering a job in an environment where the manager does not have control. This is a good clue of a chaotic workplace which you may be stepping into. A good manager knows how to delegate their time and job responsibilities. An interview requires their undivided attention. Bad managers are rarely organized and have limited time management skills.
2) Does your manager give vague answers to specific questions? Do you leave a meeting more confused than when it started? Does your manager pause often, appear awkward in their answers and often give general answers to specific questions? These are all signs of a bad manager.
3) Have you ever received an email from your manager that only did not make sense, but addressed none of the concerns expressed by you or other employees? Is your manager so busy that they cannot find the time to even answer your email? Is your manager always insistent that all questions and concerns should always be sent to them by email? In other words, does your manager actually have no answers to the every day workplace stresses and issues and fails to address them? This is a major work advisor tip: a manager who cannot answer and resolve conflicts or issues in a short time period is a bad manager and should be avoided. Unresolved problems will only become bigger when left unsolved.
4) Bad managers appear busy all the time. They have no time to answer questions, resolve issues, meet with their employees, set goals, monitor those goals and show employees how to meet those goals. Bad managers exhibit a lack of being able to apply time management skills to their own work as well as those of their employees.
5) Bad managers set low goals for their departments. They tend to set goals that are easily achieved and require less effort on their part as well as their employees. They do not do this to assist their employees, but because they themselves cannot handle the touch work of setting higher goals. This is often because higher goals need team work, dedication and effort. They require a manager that can lead by example and motivate employees. Bad managers rarely set departments records but instead meet minimum requirements set out by upper management.
6) Bad managers know how to make excuses. They know how to pick a scapegoat within their department who will be blamed for department problems. They know how to select everything from health issues to employee’s personal issues to deflect responsibility for the department not meeting established guidelines or goals. Bad managers know how not to accept blame.
7) Bad managers pretend to listen to employees and their ideas for change, but they never act of them. Bad managers believe only they know how to make the department function properly. They rarely accept the advice of employees and fellow managers alike. Along the same theme, bad managers often lay out “big” department plans with employees. They discuss lofty goals but have no concept how to reach them. When the lofty plans fall apart they immediately turn to the “blame game” rather than examining why the project failed and how not to repeat the mistakes for the next project. Bad managers do not learn from past mistakes but repeat them endlessly.
8) Bad managers tend to use the word “You” a lot rather than “I” or “we” when discussing projects and goals. This is often a work advisor clue that this manager will not accept responsibility for failed projects or unmet goals. “You” is a good term meaning that someone else will be held accountable for a bad manager’s decision.
9) Find out how long your manager has worked in the present department. Bad managers move around a lot. Many move to a new managerial position every two or three years. When asked why they have moved, often they complain that employees could not do as asked. Bad managers do not realize that they do not have the skills needed to properly manage and motivate employees. They cannot instill confidence in them and show them how to meet goals. If your manager has moved a lot, watch for those signs.
10) Bad managers pick office favorites and pit colleagues against one another. They fail to stand up for their employees when confronted by upper management. Bad managers never lead by example. Bas managers rarely handle office politics but often make them worse.
The Work Advisor Summary Of Bad Managers
Being a bad manager is easy and requires very little effort. This could be why there are so many of them. Bad managers are easily spotted if as an employee you contemplate what goals, if any, have been laid out clearly for you along with the steps needed to reach those goals. Bad managers do not lead but often bully. They pit colleagues against one another as it deflects attention away from the underlying problem which is the lack of proper management.
Many bad managers fail to use proper office etiquette but instead will use inappropriate language or send emails that are not in keeping with professional management. Recently I was asked to comment on an event within a corporate department that concerned upper management. This was an office environment where an employee was given the task of designing the departmental website. No direction was given, no advice applied. The project was assignment with no goals and no clearly defined steps to reach a successful conclusion.
The employee worked without any assistance and launched the department site with the help of the company’s tech department. The manager failed to like the site and sent inappropriate emails to various employees except the employee who was responsible for the project. With the department in disarray upper management saw the department website, approved it and advised the department manager how much they liked it. The manager took full credit for the website explaining how much effort and direction they had provided to the employee. The department manager did not give credit to the employee. Nothing was said to the employee at all.
Three months later the employee asked to be transferred from the department, complaining to HR that he felt ostracized from fellow employees. Upon being transferred the employee was asked to design another website for the this particular department since Upper Management liked the original project so much. The employee, unaware of Upper Management’s approval of the original site, declined and was fired.
Upper management was unaware of how the employee felt and how the manager had treated him. When asked to return the employee refused and found work with another company. The bad manager was moved to another department.
The company in the end lost a strong employee who obviously was self motivated and had skill. They retained a bad manager who was then moved to infect another department. This scenario is typical of bad managers and ineffective upper management. Employees can protect themselves from bad managers by learning how to spot them and avoid them. If a bad manager cannot be avoided, employees need to discuss concerns with HR or at the very least realize that a bad manager will not last long before being transferred and attempt to accomplish their work as best they can while avoiding the office politics and poisoned atmosphere that so often accompanies bad managers.
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