Fellow author and leadership coach Marcel Schwantes recently chronicled in Inc.com how to spot a really bad manager. Why are so many bad managers in leadership positions? In my opinion, it’s because employees are not promoted because they are great people leaders; they are promoted because they are great at their job. And the two have little to do with one another.
According to Schwantes, “These five traits and habits add unnecessary strain to the lives of employees, hampering their ability to perform well while affecting the customer base.”
1. Micromanaging. Managers who dominate people, decisions, and processes will ultimately derail a team’s morale. Micromanagers operate out of a sense of power and power is about control. And with control, fear is a likely result. When managing people is less about control and more about encouraging autonomy and freedom for employees to lead themselves, discretionary effort is unleashed and teams produce great results.
2. Squashing the ideas of others. Leaders who say they want an innovative team or culture and then turn around and kill any new idea brought forth are subconsciously sabotaging the creative process through a top-down approach. Instead, they need a bottom-up ‘pull’ approach, supporting and nurturing innovation from ‘idea people’ who want to contribute and make a difference.
3. Failure to actively listen. The lack of active and respectful listening, and two-way communication, is a shortcoming for many managers. Many don’t want to listen to the ideas, opinions, and constructive feedback of others. They operate in an ego-system, not an ecosystem. If you’ve ever worked with this type of leader, it can be exhausting.
4. Ignoring people’s natural desire to grow and develop. Treating employees as worker bees with no opportunities to grow is an engagement killer. Good managers invest in their employees long-term by providing learning, development, and mentoring opportunities. They create an environment that motivates people by asking about their development, and whether they’re getting enough opportunities to grow.
5. Missing in action (MIA). A manager who is MIA is often invisible when needed the most. They conveniently avoid having tough conversations with their team members, especially when things are going south. They manage by email and text for fear of face-to-face conflict. This manager is only interested in good news, because he/she is not able to handle anything more.
Jill, What Can I Do? Regardless of the position you hold in your company, you can champion Manager Training for all people leaders. The vast majority of supervisors do not have the knowledge and skills required to effectively direct, inspire, and engage employees. Whether someone is a new manager or experienced one, additional training is always in order, so escalate Manager Training today.