10 signs of poor management


People leave their managers not their jobs.

Research has shown that a majority of people leave their jobs not because they don’t like the work they do, but because they don’t get on with their Boss. The major reason cited in exit interviews is the relationship they have with their line manager, and as managers we have a responsibility to consider the impact we have on those around us with our actions.

There are a number of examples of poor management techniques which contribute to the breakdown in relationship between management and staff, here are 10 of the most common:



1)   Not listening and not making people feel valued

People like to deal with those people who are professional and who make them feel valued. Too often a poor manager will not take the time to actively listen to their staff, instead choosing  to check their e-mails, take phone calls and allow a variety of other interruptions whilst they are having a conversation/update/meeting with their people. How frustrating does it feel when you have the feeling that someone is not really paying attention to what you are saying? How do you think others feel when you are doing this to them?








2)   Micro managing shows lack of trust

If you spend all your time checking up on what others are doing, how do you find the time to do your own job? People will never give of their best if they have the feeling that they are not to be trusted or that they constantly have someone looking over their shoulder and checking up on them. If you expect the worst of people that is what they will usually deliver, as that is what you are looking for!

If you spend all your time watching them do their job, how do you have time to do yours?







3)   Too much focus on the task and not the individuals

If a manager has too much focus on achievement of a task they tend to disregard the individuals involved in helping achieve said task. Their behaviour is impersonal, they don’t tend to have any interest in how their people are feeling, and praise recognition and encouragment are in short supply. This is another example of people not feeling valued and can quickly lead to disenchantment.

How well do you know your people?







4)   Not enforcing standards

People need to have a clear understanding of their roles and expectations, and it is equally important that, having defined the standards that are expected, these are enforced. Too often a poor manager will fail to take the appropriate action when standards are not met and this then sends the message that the standards are not important or relevant. People respect a manager when they display strength, integrity and a sense of fair play. Not enforcing standards implies these qualities are lacking in a manager.

People need to understand there are consequences for not maintaining standards







5)    Not communicating expectations effectively

If people don’t have a clear understanding of what success looks like how will they know if they have done a good job? “If they don’t get shouted at,” is not the right answer! When people understand what is expected of them and how they can meet those expectations they tend to have a greater degree of confidence in their ability to meet those expectations – assuming those expectations are realistic in the first place!

How can you expect people to reach objectives if expectations are not communicated clearly?








6)    Lack of feedback positive and negative

If you dont take the time to tell people how they are doing, how will they know if they are meeting expectations? If they receive regular timely feedback they will have a greater understanding of what they need to do in order to achieve their objectives, be it a continuance of current behaviour or a correction in their activity. If the feedback is presented in a constructive, objective and calm manner it can be a great development tool to help people grow and improve.

How often do you give your staff feedback?








7)    Using communication on a need to know basis only

Another quick way to frustrate people is to keep them in the dark about issues that have some bearing on their role in the organisation. If plans and other areas of the business are treated as secrets not to be shared with other departments, how can staff gain an understanding of how they can play an effective part in the achievement of company goals. Effective communication of the company vision and objectives has an important role to play in improving employee engagement.


Do your people understand how their role affects company goals?







8)    Making decisions and then asking for feedback

If people are to take ownership of their departmental/team goals they need to feel that they have a part to play in the decision making process. Weak managers will view their role to be the one to have all the answers and to hand the decisions made down to the workforce. If the decisions are being made from the top down what is the point in asking those on the ground floor for their thoughts? If the decisions have already been made what difference will it make if they think it is a good idea or not? At best it is an exercise in patronisation!

The final decision should rest at the top, but it is good management practise to canvass opinion from the relevant sections of the company, before the decisions are made. It is quite often the case that the people at the sharp end will have the experience and knowledge to best know how to handle certain situations, doesn’t it therefore make sense to obtain their feedback before deciding on a particular course of action?

How much influence do staff have in the decision making process?







9)    Passing the buck

I know one manager who announced to a new member of staff on their first day that any success they achieved in their role would be down to the manager, but they would get the blame for anything that went wrong! How do you think that member of staff viewed their manager?

The art of good management means taking responsibility when it is due and allowing others to take the credit when it is deserved. Poor managers look to point the finger of blame away from them at every opportunity, this only has short term benefits for the manager, as their limitations are soon identified.

Good managers need to take responsibility for their actions







10) No sense of humour

If you don’t enjoy your job, why should the people that work for you? A sense of humour is a vital element in the make up of successful managers, it indicates you are working for someone who is in control, someone who is relaxed and someone who is confident in achieving success. It doesn’t prevent you from being professional as there is a time and a place to have a laugh, and a time and a place to fully focus on achieving objectives, but a little lightness goes a long long way.

If you don't enjoy being at work why should your staff?







Think about the best managers you have worked for, how do their qualities match those listed above?

Now answer the same question about the worst manager you have worked for or with……

How do you compare?

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