Top Ten Traits of Bad Managers


Managers can be really good, really bad or somewhere in the middle. The following are the most common traits bad managers have.

  1. They play favoritism to the point that it’s obvious to everyone in the office.Managers should treat their employees like parents treat their children in that you aren’t super obvious in showing you like one more than the other. Treat everyone equally and there won’t be resentment both towards the manager and the people being shown preferential treatment  .

  2. They ignore people being late every single day. Yes, I get it that it can be a struggle to get to work on time on certain days but to have a daily habit of it shows poor time management skills and according to most company handbooks reason enough to fire someone. Good managers stop it before it becomes a habit that will be impossible to break after weeks/years of doing it.

  3. They have unlimited ability to work from home and to leave early any day of the week with no notice but god forbid you need to leave an hour early on a Friday because you have a vacation planned for the weekend and the employee gave a week’s notice when they asked.  If a manager expects their employees to always be at the office then they should hold themselves to the same standard. Also if a manager can work from home than why can’t the employees they are managing be allowed to do so since obviously the job doesn’t need to be specifically done at an office building?

  4. They only care about the numbers of the team not the team itself. Yes, productivity is important but if a person isn’t making their numbers, it’s equally the manager’s fault as the employee since the employee is clearly struggling and nothing is being done about it.  Find out why people aren’t doing well and find a solution instead of just firing them or ignoring the issue. Give the person more training, find a mentor to help work with them, find the pattern of what it is they keep messing up and find a way to stop it. Dig deeper and a solution should present itself.

  5. They care too much about how they want to move up the ladder. That’s great they want to move up just as much as everyone else but they’re still in charge of their team until they leave. Be ambitious but don’t leave the team hanging while you work to move up or out of the company.

  6. They don’t help their team members further their careers. The employee needs to take the initiative but don’t try to keep your good people from leaving you if that’s what they really want.  It’s a good thing for them to want to grow professionally and you shouldn’t be the one person to hold them back from getting a better job. If you want them to stay then promote them or give them more responsibilities to entice them to stick with you otherwise let them go and find something better for themselves.

  7.  They rely too heavily on fear or intimidation to motivate. Fear has it’s place in a manager’s toolbox but it shouldn’t be the only tool sitting in the toolbox either. Learn multiple methods for motivating people and to become a more effective manager even if you’ve been doing it for years. Everyone is motivated for different reasons and fear is only going to end up motivating some of the people not all of them. If fear is used too heavily it won’t be effective for anyone since they’ll get sick of being in such a negative work environment. Managers shouldn’t be a one trick pony with their managing methods.

  8. They clearly have no idea how to do the job of the people they are managing. This may have come from being hired straight into management instead of moving up or they’re new to the department but if you’re going to manage people doing a certain job learn what it is they’re expected to be doing. There’s nothing worse than a manager who can’t actually do the job of the team they are managing. Even if it’s on a rudimentary level you should still know how to do the job. This will help the manager figure out what parts of the job are harder to learn and what processes are redundant or completely unnecessary.

  9. They change policies or procedures with no reasoning and then change it again because the first change didn’t work. Managers need to work with their team to find out what isn’t working or how things can be different and then make changes. Changing things without doing any sort of research or having a solid reason for it will only cause confusion for the team members and will be that much harder to learn another change if what you decided on ended up being a bad idea. Only change when you know it will work and you can stick with the change long term.

  10.  The timelines to get things completed are impossibly hard or unclear. People need to have a clear idea of how long they have to get a project done so they can work at an appropriate pace to complete it.  If you make everything an emergency then nothing will be an emergency since you have managed to lose all credibility in what constitutes the emergency status. Tell people when things need to be done and have clear consequences if they aren’t done in time unless there’s a valid reason for it.


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