Bad bosses are everywhere. You might overhear them in your local coffee shop, screaming at the new guy about the difference between an Americano and an Espresso in the back of the store. You might see them at your job, jabbing their fingers at a hapless employee’s computer screen and instructing them on the finer points of PowerPoint. You might have worked for a few in your career that only stopped to notice your existence when they needed to take credit for something. You might even be a bad boss yourself and have none the wiser!
Just because you refrain from throwing staplers at people and give credit where it’s due doesn’t mean that you’ve peaked where management is concerned. There’s always room for improvement, in my opinion, and a lot of the mistakes that managers make aren’t as obvious as using abusive language or practicing blatant favoritism.
Let’s start with managers that can’t let go.
Whether it’s a lack of trust in their staff that causes micro-managers to interfere or some deep seeded need to meddle with everything, always, managers who can’t let go often get in the way of good work being done instead of helping. If you’ve set up the workflow in such a way that every bit of work that gets done needs to be approved by the head honcho (that’s you), then I can guarantee that a lot of time is going to waste.
When a boss consistently involves themselves in changing the minute details of the work of their employees, that boss is both failing to manage in an effective way and driving their employees crazy. The whole point of management in the first place is delegation, getting large groups of people to work toward the same collective goal. If you’re too stuck in the small details, then you probably aren’t devoting enough time to the big picture. And did I mention that micro-management is incredibly annoying to your employees? Yes, new hires will need extra attention and guidance, but you need to have enough faith in the people that work for you to take a step back and let them do their jobs.
Another type of bad manager is the egotistical sort. This kind of manager only cares about how their employees’ performance makes them look and isn’t above taking credit for the entire department’s work in their meetings with higher ups. A good manager should be much more engaged in doing their job effectively than scheming on improving their reputation with the bosses. If your top priority is climbing the ladder, management may not be the place for you. Yes, it is the most clearly defined path of advancement in most organizations, but management isn’t about who gets the credit for a completed project, it’s about helping people to get their work done and help them feel good while doing it.
If you fail to mention the key players on your team that helped in the success of a project, they will find out about it and will probably hate you for it. In order to succeed as a manager, you need to be able to work with others and that can be tough when your staff doesn’t trust you as far as they can throw you.