Worst Qualities of a Bad Manager

Well, stamping a Manager as “GOOD” or “BAD” is highly subjective in nature. But, here are some of the qualities that I feel might categorize a Manager as “Bad Manager”.

  1. Never Open & Honest – If your manager doesn’t openly discuss the tasks/goals & the strategies to achieve it, rather, they just assign you some task & no justifications to support why it’s like that way, then probably it’s a sign lack of trust on the team. A good manager will always discuss things openly & honestly with the team.
  2. Favoritism – If you see a pattern that your manager likes to get things done from a specific employee from your team and not choose you (most often), it’s a sign of playing favoritism. A good manager will always treat everyone equally.
  3. Unclear/Changing Expectations – A manager who set an expectation today & changes it tomorrow is a person who probably doesn’t have a clear goal in his/her mind. This creates confusion in the employees mind on what to deliver and what actions will meet the manager expectations.
  4. Blame the team for failures – This is probably the worst behavior that a manager can ever exhibit. A manager who blames the team for failures is definitely the one who is totally impractical. Instead, a good manager would take the blame on his head & help figure out the root cause for failures and correct it so that these failures do not occur again.
  5. Never admit a mistake – A manager who doesn’t like to accept his mistake or listen to his team on his feedback is probably not a forward thinker. Just like the managers who provide feedback to team members, the reverse is also something that should be acceptable. Good Managers adjust/correct their behaviors, actions and decisions positively based on the mistakes pointed out by the team.
  6. Poor Decision Making – Bad managers think that solutions for hard problems is something to be done by the team member assigned to that task. A good manager will always like to be that ultimate problem solver for which the team might be looking upto. The term “Manager” is 99% solving toughest problems. A team with a good manager never fears a roadblocker.
  7. Have unrealistic expectations – Some managers set expectations for the team in an unrealistic way. Like, getting $X sales within this week. Expectations needs to be set from the team’s capability perspective. Forward thinking is good but not too fast.
  8. Use of Humiliation & Shame – If you have ever worked with a manager who publicly defames you for a mistake/failure, then for sure that manager is a BAD one. A team meeting is not for defaming/pointing fingers on a specific person. As said earlier, a good manager accepts the failure, talks to you personally, figures out the solution and moves forward.
  9. Lack of Vision – A manager who doesn’t have a clear idea of what number to achieve (like, quarterly sales target, bug density threshold) is probably the one screwing the team members by saying there is no effectiveness, I am not satisfied with productivity, etc. A good manager knows the short term & long term target to achieve and drives + runs along with the team with full transparency to achieve those figures.
  10. Use Appraisals as an opportunity to nail employees down – A manager shows his/her worst behavior when the entire negative list of feedback is thrown out to the employee on the appraisal day and denies an employees salary hike/promotion. A good manager provides feedback every now & then and does not wait for the month of Appraisal to arrive. A good manager makes sure that there are very less negatives to improve for team members & the employee is appreciated for the goodness/efficiency that the employee has shown. A good manager always suggests ways to achieve the missed objectives.
  11. Pressurizing employees just because manager is pressurized – Have you ever heard your manager speaking to you that he/she has pressure from the higher management? And that’s why I am requesting you to take the pressure and save me? I believe a manager who speaks like this is probably not a good one. When there is pressure from the higher management, a good manager makes sure that the expectations set from higher management perspective is not unrealistic and ensures that unnecessary pressure doesn’t affect the productivity of the team. If the goals are realistic, a good manager puts a detailed plan & works along with the team to reduce the work pressure.

Yes. I am sure that there are more worst qualities that you can think of. If you feel that some of those worst qualities needs to be highlighted/have more importance, feel free to comment on this blog and let’s have this conversation going.

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