7 Characteristics of Poor Management

How do managers affect the workplace? According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84 percent of American workers surveyed believed poorly trained managers create unnecessary work and stress in the workplace. 

Angry manager yelling and pointing at colleagues during a tense meeting with charts on the table.

The main takeaway from this statistic is the importance of managers possessing effective business management skills. Be on the lookout for these signs of poor management and ways to avoid these mistakes yourself.

1. Passive Aggressiveness

Signs of passive aggressiveness aren’t always apparent.  Things like micromanaging small details and giving vague project directions (only to scold you later for doing it incorrectly) are major signs of passive aggressiveness from your manager. If you’re the manager, check in with your employees to make sure they understand what you’re asking of them and why you’re asking it. A happy employee is an engaged employee, and the inverse is true as well.

2. Acting Unconsciously

If a manager is always talking about cleanliness in the workplace, yet they’ve often left soda bottles on the break room table, this is a bit of a red flag. It not only shows a lack of responsibility for their actions, it demonstrates patently unconscious behavior. If you’re in a management position, remember to practice what you preach. Awareness about your own actions helps to keep you in check before reprimanding someone for making the same mistakes as you.

3. Credit Stealing

Nothing will ruin a reputation quite like taking credit for another’s accomplishments. This is a particularly bad habit for a manager, because it immediately lowers their standing in the eyes of their employees. Also, when their superiors find out they can’t duplicate these results on their own, they’ll be on the chopping block. If your employees are going above and beyond, recognize them. This will boost workplace morale and familiarize you with an employee’s strengths so you can better organize tasks in the future.

4. Bad Temper

They say a lost temper can never be found, and that may be especially true for poor management. A coworker who raises their voice out of anger in the workplace is quickly labeled a loose cannon. When a manager raises their voice, it can make you question their self-control and ability to lead at all. If you’re the manager and you find yourself getting angry in the workplace, take a step back. Ask for some time to yourself, or say, “I’ll get back to you in an email.” This may not be as satisfying as shouting at your employees, but it will keep you from looking like a toddler.

5. Brown-Nosing

Whether in customer relations or the office, rapport is important. It isn’t everything, however. A manager who spends most of their time complimenting workers, colleagues and superiors is leaving a lot undone. In some cases, it’s all the manager knows how to do. If simply sucking up to the boss and playing nice with coworkers were the only business management skills that got you to the position, it certainly won’t keep you there. Replace a couple of those pats on the back with productive reviews, and everyone in the office will be much more impressed with you.

6. Playing Favorites

Again, rapport in the workplace is a great thing; people want to feel they’re working for a likable character. However, if the manager has a buddy in the office who constantly underperforms, fails to complete deadlines and neglects their work in group assignments, you can be sure coworkers are upset with them both. As a manager, it’s important to keep friendships outside of the office. The workplace is for just that: work. If anyone is underperforming, it’s your job to let them know.

7. Slippery Decision Making

Some with poor management skills never make a decision. They may sit back and let issues sort themselves out. And even when asked a direct question, they’re likely to say, “I’ll get back to you on that,” or “Go ask your coworkers about it.”  As a manager, you’re not saving face by not making decisions.

You’re revealing your insecurities. Your team looks to you for guidance. If you’re afraid of making mistakes, how likely is your team to succeed?

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