Poor managers mean spiralling costs, lousy performance and miserable people. Here are some examples to watch out for (and what to do about them!) Do you have any of these?
The Blood Sucker
These Managers aren’t very self-aware. They wait to be told what to do and how to do it. And, then when this doesn’t work, they moan and bellyache that it’s someone else’s fault. They have no initiative, other than finding new ways to blame someone else. They are often to be found in a highly structured organisation or one with a ‘blame’ culture. These managers are not actually managing – they are just passing instructions from above to below. This negativity will be draining the life from their team, and killing morale. Dead.
These managers need to be empowered and allowed to make mistakes. They need to learn to take (calculated) risks and responsibility for the outcomes. They need encouragement to think ahead and think positively.
These Managers don’t know what they are doing or why. They just react to each situation as it arises. These are the managers still in the office in the middle of the night and recalling their team back from their holidays because they didn’t see the increased workload coming until it plopped down on their desk. They may appear to be great problem solvers – because that’s what they spend all their time doing. What would you prefer – results or lots of problems?
These managers need to set, and agree, goals and have a plan to achieve those goals.
These managers (and their teams) are also working late. But if you ask them what they’re doing, they’ll say something like ‘I’ve got so many things to do and I can’t trust anyone else to do it’. These managers don’t know the difference between ‘urgent’ and ‘important’, so end up trying to do everything. They often don’t have courage or wit to ask or challenge what they’ve been asked to do. This often means they are poor delegators, as they won’t know what can be delegated.
They need to learn how to prioritize and understand what is important, and what can be left. Time management and assertiveness training may help.
These are the managers prowling the office looking for mistakes by their staff. If their team is successful – they’ll be sure to take the credit. If they make mistakes – they’ll keep them hidden. They are competitive and completely focussed on themselves. They don’t care what the organisations objectives are, as long as THEY get what THEY want. You will see these managers everywhere, but particularly in sales. These managers often have a high turnover of skilled staff.
They need to understand that other people need THEIR needs met too or they will go elsewhere.
They need to know that good negotiating skills mean giving as well as taking, and that decisions are more likely to stick if both parties got benefits.
Communication is mostly about listening. These managers don’t get this, and assume that everyone thinks like they do so will act like they do. They are constantly surprised by what other people do. They may be inveterate attention seekers too. Although they often appear to be great communicators, if you look closely, they will be all surface and no substance. The probably have little idea what the organisation actually does, or know enough about their staff to motivate or develop them.
They need to spend time walking in other people’s shoes. In other words, they need to listen more.
Man (or woman) alone
These managers work very hard because, like the headless chicken, they are doing most of the work themselves. However, although these managers do know the priorities – they are afraid to make a mistake and don’t know how to share responsibility and actions. These are the managers who are still doing their technical role long after they became the manager.
They need to talk through the priorities with the rest of the team and their bosses. They need to trust people more and respect their skills.
If these managers were in charge, we’d still be living in caves. They will be saying things like ‘we always do it this way’, when patently it no longer works. Sadly, they don’t see the point of improvement or change for the better. They will be the managers still using the internal paper process after the whole company has switched to an electronic system. They don’t learn from mistakes and don’t strive to improve what they do.
They need to learn that just because something worked fine 10 years ago, may not work for a similar situation now. They also need to recognise that we are learning new things all the time, and that this brings improvements and can make life more interesting, productive and more fun.