How to spot a bad manager

The success of any business depends heavily on the effectiveness of its managers. Bad and ineffective managers exist in every organisation.

The worst managers fail to trust employees, don't respect employees, and intimidate employees. Bad managers cause unnecessary stress in the work place and are a major cause of reduced productivity and performance. Ultimately, not everyone is management material.


Research has shown that arrogant employees are poor performers who create stress for others and their behaviour is likely to create a negative atmosphere in the office. An arrogant manager is less likely to welcome or solicit feedback and is likely to keep subordinates in a helpless position as he or she has authority over their promotions or opportunities. Such managers are also much less likely to offer mentoring or coaching, leading to a less-developed team.

Micro managing

Micro-management is one of the most frustrating habits a manager can have. By paying too much attention to every tiny detail, the manager eats up their own time, which should be spent on other things, and shows a complete lack of trust in their team. When a manager shows a lack of trust in their team, it reduces the likelihood of them coming up with new ideas and improvements.

Giving poor directions

Often, managers in a rush will bark out one or two lines of instruction when much more is needed. Bad managers provide instructions with insufficient detail, or a lack of background information. It always pays for managers to be slow and careful in the delivery of instructions, rather than rushing and becoming irritated when things aren’t done properly.

Not taking responsibility

Rather than take responsibility when things go wrong, a bad manager will blame others when confronted. Managers who blame their team members will lose respect. A manager can delegate authority but not responsibility.

Being too friendly

It is important that managers build positive, friendly working relationships with those that work for them, but it’s also important to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of being so friendly that managing the team becomes difficult. If someone behaves badly at work or is not performing their role effectively then the manager needs to be able to address this properly. If the relationship with the employee compromises the manager’s ability to do this then it has become too personal. Although likable, this manager will struggle to maintain full control of the team.

Being too critical

A constant critic is a real drain on a company’s energy and creativity. This manager’s attitude will keep people working within very narrow guidelines and discourages any attempt by people to reach out and offer new solutions to problems. Every manager should be careful to acknowledge effort and good work.

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