Seven Bad Management Practices To Avoid Like The Plague
What are the worst management practices you should avoid like the plague? Why are there bad managers who persist using bad management strategies to handle their employees at work? How to bypass these bad management practices and promote a workplace where everybody can grow?
There’s no magic formula for being a great manager.
WarningIt’s a confusing mixture of providing both constructive criticism and praise, overseeing performance without micromanaging, and hoping your employees like you—but respect you, too.
Even if you can have an outstanding organizational culture on paper, it’s surprisingly easy for a few bad management practices to unravel it.
Even in a company with an otherwise excellent work culture, poor management practices can have an undermining effect on all the hard work it took to build it.
Building the right habits creates a workplace that employees love.
When employees appreciate the tenor of their workplace, they thrive and perform better for the company. In turn, this creates a better employee-retention rate, which, in turn, improves productivity.
Good leaders are those who set their people up to succeed.
For you to be an effective leader, you have to keep away from management practices that destroy employee productivity. While there is no such thing as a perfect leader, you have to consistently try to be a good one.
Bad management is a very serious warning sign. It can be one of the most toxic problems of a company. This culture cannot live in the long run. So what are the worst management practices for company culture?
If you’re looking to run a high-performance organization, you need to be able to be able to recognize the signs of bad management. If low-performing managers are not dealt with, an organization will never be able to become excellent. Below are the worst management practices that you should avoid at all costs to make sure you are not the reason for your workers’ decreasing efficiency.
Bad Managers Are Absent
Being in management keeps you busy. Your calendar is filled with projects and lunches, and you’re always rushing from one place to the next. Sure, you have many responsibilities—meetings and appointments included.
But if you let busyness take over your day-to-day life and use it as an excuse to not manage your employees, they will notice that they’re not a priority.
As a manager, you have to be available for your employees to give them the opportunity to ask questions, present ideas, and benefit from your guidance and leadership.
Managers have a responsibility to their teams to be accessible and supportive.
WarningThis doesn’t mean they should be on call indefinitely (managers are equally susceptible to imbalance), but it is crucial to provide those opportunities for connection with the team. When managers are too busy to provide that, they’re doing their organizations a disservice.
Make sure you’re able to provide your team with the access and guidance they need to excel. If you can’t provide it yourself, it’s time to practice your delegation skills and find someone who can.
Bad managers are always busy, busy, busy. They are involved in many, many projects; in fact, they’re so busy that there isn’t enough time to work on regular tasks!
And because these projects are vital for the success of the organization (or so they say), bad managers cannot possibly be expected to work on their departmental targets. They will get to that when their other projects are finished…which they never are.
Bad managers also manage from a distance. Bad managers love to use performance indicators because these make it possible to practice hands-off management.
This in turn makes it easy for bad managers to avoid the day to day department activities altogether. And of course, if anything goes wrong, they can dodge accountability: they weren’t there, after all!
Bad Managers MicroManage
Have you ever had someone always breathing down your neck, causing you to mess up due to the unnecessary pressure and tension? Despite autonomy and trust being some of the top must-haves when it comes to boosting employee morale, some managers continue to control every little detail and keep sweating the small things.
If you spend all your time checking up on what others are doing, how do you find the time to do your own job?
WarningPeople will never give of their best if they have the feeling that they are not to be trusted or that they constantly have someone looking over their shoulder and checking up on them. If you expect the worst of people that is what they will usually deliver, as that is what you are looking for!
Positive recognition and appreciation go much further than micromanagement, which results in a lack of trust.
People work best when managers trust them. Aside from influencing team productivity, employee engagement enhances company culture.
This unhealthy practice kills morale, hampers creativity, especially in today’s current business landscape, where employees are encouraged to think outside the box and step outside their comfort zone. Look for an effective manager who mentors, guides, and encourages you through your work instead of dictating how you should do things.
One can’t bring his/her best, if someone is constantly checking up on that person.
What is more, this behaviour takes the focus of the employees, thus decreasing their productivity. Those people were hired, because they had the most potential/were the most promising. If that’s the case, what’s the point of constantly checking up on them?
A good manager helps you build your skills by challenging you to do more than you thought you could.
WarningBut not everyone is cut from that cloth: If you can’t send a single email without his/her proofreading it, you may be under the thumb of an insecure superior, or a control freak.
Bad Managers Procrastinate
Although it’s important to give employees the autonomy they need in order to do their best work, it’s equally important for them to have a sense that someone is driving the bus, and that person is competent.
Part of a manager’s job is to make decisions; this is one of the reasons that they earn more money than other staff.
Managers who are either afraid to accept responsibility or are afraid of the consequences of decision making are viewed as ineffectual by employees. You can’t make the right call every time, but it’s impossible to make the right call without making a call in the first place.
The most efficient organizations close their tasks off at the earliest, especially if they are of a certain priority.
WarningLeaving things late may work a couple of times, but there is a higher risk of failure if this is the customary approach. At one point, something out of your control will delay you, which is why contingency is essential.
For leadership to ensure their employees are invested in working towards the achievement of the company’s goals, it is essential to avoid making decisions behind closed doors. Instead, bring together the entire team, hear them out, and brainstorm to come up with the best solutions and decisions that will benefit the organization as a whole.
A manager needs to be able to state what’s necessary to get the job done.
This means that managers need to set the expectations for the job, set the procedures and make decisions, and then to monitor and enforce these fairly throughout the team.
If a manager cannot express decisions clearly, then nothing is accomplished or what’s accomplished is not done well. When there are unenforced company standards, this may indicate that employees feel stranded at sea without a leader to steer the ship.
This leaves employees with a vague sense of purpose and employees might be performing the same task in different ways. Effective communication sends a strong message that there is a captain at the helm who sets fair expectations and who knows how to get messages across.
Bad Managers Are Punitive
While punitive measures may produce short-term results, they overwhelmingly inspire resentment and apprehension. Over the long term, it doesn’t pay off.
The best managers support their teams and inspire them to embrace accountability by helping them see the purpose behind their work.
It’s not often the fault of the team when goals aren’t met — they’re either not given the resources they need to reach that goal, or the goal is too aggressive.
Managers who instill fear tend to assign blame, withhold information and answer questions in vague, noncommittal ways.
WarningThey refrain from showing compassion and creating a persona that appears unapproachable. They also thrive on being unpredictable; and that has an effect, because when employees are uncertain, they are fearful.
Bad managers threaten an employee’s job security. When employees sense an imminent layoff, gossip spreads through the office. Scared workers will even use company time to look for a new job. Even if they don’t, their morale will be reduced, and they’ll stop trusting and respecting the management team.
It’s that simple. If a boss is sour, cranky, and generally unpleasant, nobody will want to address important issues that affect the business.
A company’s management sets the tone for the rest of the employees. When management has a bad attitude or they don’t seem to be honest in their dealings with employees, that creates toxicity, and nobody wants to work in a toxic environment.
Some managers and senior executives may apply strategies of fear creation so that their subordinates do not slack.
WarningThis may indeed be effective for achieving short-term results, however will be problematic in the long-term. Employees will gossip against their bosses and may secretly seek other job opportunities, where their security is not threatened.
Employees are the backbone of every company. Therefore, it is essential to treat them with the respect they deserve despite their shortcomings.
Repeatedly threatening your employees with termination as a scare tactic to improve their performance is simply unjust and it kills their morale. Letting your employees feel valued can go a long way in boosting morale.
Bad Managers Love Meetings
Ever went to a meeting and came out more confused? A typical scenario of a badly managed project. When meetings are an ineffective means of communication, people become disorganized and unsure.
Time waster meetings need to be addressed by senior management personnel who can bring order to chaos and poor coordination.
Staying organized is one of the top management skills needed to run a successful company. Good management means identifying which employees must attend and which ones can stay with their current tasks
Meetings play a very important role in managing projects. It is where managers get updates on the status of projects, and where they give out instructions to the teams.
WarningHowever, meetings that are poorly managed are not likely to be productive, and can instead lead employees to eventually lose interest. Thus, managers have to make sure their employees get something of value and relevance out of their meetings.
Send out agendas so the meeting can stay on track. If all employees are briefed with a schedule, they’ll be better prepared and have a process to follow. When topics go off on a tangent, use the agenda to bring everyone back to the goal and purpose of the meeting. End the meeting by asking for feedback. Give employees a voice so they can offer advice on how to improve the efficiency of meetings.
Face it — most meetings are major time sinks with little payoff. The disconnect exists between the manager’s desire to stay in the loop, and the employee’s disinterest in attending.
Meetings are often viewed as a hassle for the staff, who usually have to stop their projects to focus instead on pulling reports, summarizing projects and presenting new ideas or sharing opinions. These distractions scatter their focus, killing their productivity and morale.
What happens when management does not make productive use of employees? Ineffective meetings lead to lower engagement and morale among employees.
WarningLong-term, this can result in workplace conflict, a decline in innovation, increased employee turnover, and worse yet, longer sales cycles due to a lack of understanding about the customer journey, the products/services offered, and so forth.
Bad Managers Poorly Communicate
Bad managers are all capable of holding an open forum for employees to voice concerns, questions, and suggestions. This sounds like the mark of a good manager, right?
However, the bad manager only feigns interest in employee feedback, and won’t actually act on what he or she hears.
WarningInstead, bad managers stick to their own plans. If people complain, the bad manager will use open forums against the participants, claiming that any incompetency is the fault of everyone.
People like to deal with those people who are professional and who make them feel valued. Too often a poor manager will not take the time to actively listen to their staff.
Instead they choose to check their emails, take phone calls and allow a variety of other interruptions whilst they are having a conversation with their people. How frustrating does it feel when you have the feeling that someone is not really paying attention to what you are saying?
When management keeps employees in the dark about information that directly affects them, such as their performance and output, it can kill morale. Open communication is vital in any organization; By building walls that shut out employees from senior management, you are tearing down trust and allowing employee engagement to suffer.
Another quick way to frustrate people is to keep them in the dark about issues that have some bearing on their role in the organization.
If plans are treated as secrets not to be shared with other departments, how can staff gain an understanding of how they can play an effective part in the achievement of company goals. Effective communication of the company vision and objectives has an important role to play in improving employee engagement.
Not sharing important information, assigning unclear tasks. Not explaining correctly the tasks will lead to wrong results.
Worst case scenario: the employees will have to start over their work, wasting the precious resources of the company, not to mention the huge demotivation it causes. In addition, lack of good communication is a certain ticket to misunderstandings.
Bad Managers Are Negative
To make sure they’re respected, some managers will rule with an iron fist, making sure their employees know exactly what they do wrong—every time they do something wrong. They constantly harp on the negative and rely on criticism over praise.
While constructive feedback is often necessary, it’s best to give your team six positive comments to each negative one.
WarningIf you tend to take every opportunity to disagree with your employees’ suggestions or point out what they didn’t do right, you might actually be sinking performance—and your employees’ perception of you as a leader.
Bad managers know how to play the goals game. They know that departmental goals should be loose, with lots of slack, which means the targets will be very easy to achieve.
Bad managers will never get optimal results from their departments; but that doesn’t matter to them, bad managers would rather have low performance than run the risk of punishment for falling short of ambitious targets.
If you don’t enjoy your job, why should the people that work for you? A sense of humour is a vital element in the makeup of successful managers, it indicates you are working for someone who is in control, someone who is relaxed and someone who is confident in achieving success.
Everyone makes mistakes; it is a known fact of life. No matter how experienced you are, somewhere along the line, you’ve had a few missteps at work.
Great managers treat such mishaps as a learning experience because they know it’s their responsibility to monitor the team and ensure everything is running smoothly. Unfortunately, some seniors choose to be carried away by their anger when things go south—calling out employee mistakes and shaming them in front of their colleagues.
The art of good management means taking responsibility when it is due and allowing others to take the credit when it is deserved.
WarningPoor managers look to point the finger of blame away from them at every opportunity, this only has short term benefits for the manager, as their limitations are soon identified.
Bad management can never be functioning in the long run — if you encounter this problem at a firm and the situation is beyond hope, then it’s a clear wake-up call to leave the company.
What’s more, bad management can be contagious.
Maybe it’s only you, who has inaccurate opinion about the situation, or just it’s a temporary problem. Depending on the situation it’s worth keep an eye on the management’s behaviours — they indicate a lot of valuable information what’s behind the curtains.
For a team, department or an organization to be productive, the manager has to find a way to inspire their people to be engaged.
By avoiding the bad management practices mentioned above, you will be able to get closer to creating a highly productive environment.
Your employees are people, so they will find value in that company that cares about their well-being.
This concept is key if we want to attract and retain talent, if we want our employees to be the first ambassadors of our brand, if we want to create a pleasant working environment for everyone where everyone brings the best of themselves and is valued for it.
Consciously making positive choices on a regular basis manifests loyalty and productivity.
WarningPoor management choices are the difference between a company that’s hobbling along and a company that’s moving toward the future. A transparent culture encourages teamwork, and establishes a mutual respect and trust among all organizational levels.
Sometimes, investments are not counted with coins.
Have you ever experienced these problems at your workplace? Are there any other items you’d add to the list of the worst management practices? Do you have any other examples of bad management? Share your thoughts in the comments!