3 Bad Managers who are Actually Awesome
We’ve all worked jobs we didn’t like, whether it was a temporary gig, or the job went on entirely too long. Often, it wasn’t necessarily the work itself that was the worst, but rather the horrible boss that oversaw daily operations. In fact, “bad bosses” are cited as the number one cause of multiple workplace problems, such as:
- Constant turnover
- Declining morale
- Lower productivity
The disastrous results of bad management all seem to be shared across the board, regardless of whether the manager in question was an unrelenting bully or obliviously nice. Despite their failings, there are lessons to be learned from them, especially for those who are starting their own business. Below you’ll find a description of three bad managers, and the important lessons that can be learned from each one.
The Nice Guy/Girl
For those who have never had a boss that was “too nice” this may come as a shock, but nice bosses can also be a part of a bigger problem. In their effort to appease their colleagues and team members, they tend to embody the seven deadly sins of the too-nice boss, which include:
- Having their ideas overshadowed by more assertive leaders
- Avoiding conflict of all kinds, hoping they’ll simply disappear
- Not challenging their underperforming subordinates
- Delaying change in an attempt to keep people within their comfort zones
- Doing other peoples’ work when complaints are lodged
- Never speaking up in any situation
- Losing respect over time from colleagues, bosses and staff
Despite multiple warnings from colleagues and bosses, these managers continue to go overboard appeasing their employees, even if it’s at their own expense, to the point that it becomes habit. A business can’t expect to move forward if the person at the helm agrees with everybody, but even the “too nice” boss has a lesson to teach: camaraderie.
Nobody can match the “too-nice” boss at being tuned into the unique situations of their employees. Though knowing the unique motivating factors for each employee gives any leader a distinct edge, it behooves nobody to be a pushover. Hold employees accountable, know what personally drives them, and provide honest, consistent feedback for the best results.
Bully bosses are more than just a pain to work for; they also have a tremendous negative impact on an organization as a whole. The more obvious ones are typically caught before they have a chance to climb too high up the corporate ladder, but the more savvy ones tend to bully in more “tactful” and sustained ways. Further, many don’t even show their true colors until they get into a position of power.
Some of the actions that bully bosses display include, but aren’t limited to:
- Verbal abuse, sometimes in front of others
- Constantly questioning the adequacy and commitment of their employees
- Sustained intimidation
- Undermining employee work to cause failure
Though their specific behavior has not been heavily researched, 35% of workers have reported being bullied at some point in their professional lives. Considering the multiple physical and mental ills that a bully boss can cause, it’s hard to imagine that they could teach anything of value, but…
“Successful” bully bosses do teach us that they aren’t completely without emotional intelligence. They are able to selectively pick which situations are most appropriate to launch their tirades, which could be channeled by applying that selectiveness tomore efficient behaviors, like:
- Active listening
- Team building and effective communication of objectives and performance metrics
- Generating buy-in from their employees
So in essence, bully bosses possess what could be excellent leadership skills, if only they directed that energy toward team-building and group goals, instead of personal advancement.
This is the boss that hovers over everybody’s shoulders, honing in on even the most minute detail of their employees’ work. Of course, the elements of the job that they typically obsessed over are not only outside the scope of their managerial duties, but also serve to stunt their employees’ development and demoralize them. The micromanager tends never to be satisfied with the work that’s produced and effectively becomes the dreaded bottleneck in daily operations.
- Get easily frustrated when an employee doesn’t complete a task in the same way they would
- Ask for updates too frequently
- May even take great pride in their obsessive level of scrutiny
A major problem with micromanagers is that they apply the same level of intensity to every situation that can occur, whether warranted or not. Despite their obvious insecurities of relinquishing even the smallest level of control, micromanagers teach us that…
Micromanagement, in small doses and on necessary occasions, can be a positive trait. For example, when a new employee is brought onboard, it helps when the manager is readily available to answer questions until the employee is comfortable with the level of work they are performing. And that’s the key: a savvy manager will know when a situation calls for a more “hands on” approach and most importantly, know when to turn it off to allow the employee the chance to develop.
Through Their Combined Powers…
So what if you combined the positive traits of each of these poor management styles? They are more of a hindrance to an organization than an asset by themselves, but imagine a manager who has:
- Awareness of their employees’ emotions
- The mental fortitude to see projects through
- The patience and time-management skills to be available to employees when need be
The one trait that the three styles listed above have in common is that they are based on some form of personal insecurity on the part of the manager. In contrast, an effective leader possesses positive qualities such as:
- Eagerness to Learn and Adapt
- Honesty and Integrity
If you are a manager and display any of the negative traits listed above, it’s time to stop. Trusting your own people and not being afraid to offer constructive feedback are necessary in their development as well as your own. And if you see a manager engaging in these activities, be upfront and tell them about it. You may be just the inspiration they need to change their ways.
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