10 Reasons Why It’s So Easy to Be a Bad Manager
Why’s it so easy to be a bad manager? This question swirls in the heads of employees around the globe. Bad managers are like cockroaches. They are everywhere, all the time, but you only see them occasionally. Organizations don’t see bad managers as bad because employees hold back, voicing concerns out of fear of retaliation. Exceptional bad managers are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They dress the part, talk the part, and act the part. Bad managers know likeability helps them fly under the radar, so they focus their energy and attention on building relationships instead of managing the business. This blog post answers the question of why it’s so easy to be a bad manager.
A bad manager is overly involved in your work.
Bad managers over involve themselves. Different from micromanaging, they are too close to the work you are doing. They get in the way because they are too eager to prove themselves, especially if they are insecure. Bad managers don’t know what they are supposed to do, so they do your job instead. They are comfortable doing your job because that is what got them promoted. It is easy to be a bad manager because they are doing your work instead of managing.
They mistake assumptions for facts.
Managers have a matter-of-fact belief in what they know. Without question, they know why you did or did not do something. Bad managers know what you know or don’t know. Additionally, they run with what the rumor mill says about you. Even more, they assume you should know something that they haven’t told you yet. Worse, bad managers will tell others matter-of-factly who you are as a person without any direct validation. It is easy to be a bad manager because they run with assumptions instead of wasting time validating facts.
A bad manager lacks empathy.
Bad managers apply a one-size-fits-all approach to emotions. They assume you are like them or one of your peers. As a result, they don’t expect you to react to situations the way you do. Bad managers don’t recognize each employee is different and will receive news differently. They fail to recognize that life experiences shape how each of us views the world. Bad managers don’t recognize everyone hears the same message differently. As a result, they ignore the impact news or information will have on you. It is easy to be a bad manager because they waste time understanding you trying to understand your feelings.
They are not self-aware.
Bad managers have an inflated sense of their management style. In addition, they artificially inflate your perception of their performance in their head. Bad managers think they are exceptional managers. They fail to recognize their shortcomings, so they don’t invest time in improving. As a result, they don’t listen to or apply feedback from you or their peers. It is easy to be a bad manager because they aren’t concerned with how their poor management skills impact you or the team.
A bad manager hates managing people.
A bad manager hates managing people but goes into management anyway. They don’t pursue management to help and serve people. Instead, they go into management for money and prestige. Because they hate people or hate emotions and drama, they ignore, defer, or deflect. Or worse, they manage you out instead of coaching you up. These managers should manage projects or things instead of people. It is easy to be a bad manager because they ignore, defer, or deflect dealing with people’s issues.
They don’t practice the craft of management.
Bad managers don’t practice. They don’t prepare or practice delivering bad news to make sure the message is clear. They don’t prepare or practice delivering your performance review, so they aren’t prepared for you to dispute their assessment. Bad managers don’t practice giving critical feedback, so they end up providing only positives, or worse, silence. It is easy to be a bad manager because they don’t practice the craft of management and instead wing it.
A bad manager doesn’t practice continuous learning.
A bad manager doesn’t learn the art of management. Instead, they get complacent because they got promoted, so they feel they already know. They don’t read books on being a better manager, and they don’t listen to podcasts. A bad manager doesn’t solicit feedback from their team or peers because they feel they have nothing to learn. Further, when reading about bad management practices, they fail to see those traits within themselves. It’s easy to be a bad manager because they waste time learning and growing in their role.
They model other bad managers.
A bad manager is modeling the bad managers who lead them, so they don’t know there are better ways. A bad manager has seen other bad managers get promotions, plum assignments, and frequent praise. In some ways, they see being bad as essential to being seen as high-potential. It’s easy to be a bad manager because it requires minimal effort.
A bad manager doesn’t care about your feedback.
So they won’t ask you for feedback. Bad managers won’t ask your opinion or advice. Even more, when you offer them feedback, they discard it because they know better. They are dismissive of your knowledge and experience. When you provide them with data that doesn’t tell the story they expect, they conclude you don’t know what you are doing. It is easy to be a bad manager when you are the most competent person in the room.
They talk the talk that people want to hear.
It’s so easy to be a bad manager because they are skilled at talking. They say yes to everything. A bad manager will over-communicate with executives but are silent within the lower levels of the organization. They befriend people to get the organization’s pulse and use that information to appear they are involved. A bad manager talks about how busy they are and everything they are working on or have done. But, unfortunately, all the talking is overpowering tangible results. That is until the results are too awful to ignore.
People are what make business hard. People are nuanced, have varying degrees of experience and knowledge, and even more, have different performance levels. Good managers are critical because they bring diverse people together to accomplish goals and results. Good managers help people develop and grow. Finally, good managers help organizations meet their goals, objectives and deliver value to their clients. It’s easy to be a bad manager, but they make it difficult for everyone in the organization.
Originally published at https://www.jasoncortel.com on November 10, 2021.