How Not To Be The Bad Manager That Everyone Hates

by Srikant Chellappa May 26,2017

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

You know a major reason why employees decide to quit? Bad managers. The moment employees realise they are not able to work despite the bad manager, they know it’s time to call it quits. A bad manager is a sure fire way for an organisation to lose some of its best talents.

Becoming a good manager is a process that takes a while.  It often involves a lot of trial and error as well. Nobody is going to fault someone for trying to become a better manager. But as you learn to become a good manager, remember to avoid the habits that will steer you straight into bad manager territory. The idea is to go from inexperienced to good. Not inexperienced to bad.

Don’t insult people and play it off as a joke

Really, this is in poor taste as a manager. Especially, when you tack on, ‘No offence’ or ‘Just kidding’ at the end.  There’s a fine line between sarcasm and being just plain mean. Also, if you think your joke is going to cause offence, just don’t share it. The office is not the place for sarcasm, extreme jokes, pranks, ill-intentioned jokes etc. And if you are a manager, it’s an even bigger no-no. Because guess what, as a leader, you need to lead the way when it comes to good behaviour, not bad behaviours!

Don’t dump all your work on your juniors

Even if you don’t play a big part in the process, as a manager, you still need to manage. You cannot just assign work to your team and then call it a day! Part of being a manager also includes being visible and taking an active interest in what’s going on. Good managers will regularly check-in with their team and know what is going on.

Don’t hog all the credit and forget to acknowledge others

A team effort consists of many different people coming together to create something or do something. And when that project happens to be a success, a bad manager will hog all the credit and leave a sour taste in the mouths of his team members. On the other hand, a good manager will share the credit and ensures that everyone’s contribution is acknowledged.

Don’t be swayed easily by sweet words

As managers, you’ve got to learn to be discerning. That means you need to know when someone is trying to sweet-talk you and when someone is trying to genuinely compliment you. There always going to be a few problem employees who will immediately realise if you are the kind to be swayed easily. And what is more, they will ensure that they use this weakness of yours to their advantage.

Don’t gossip about your teammates

Gossiping is not cool, to begin with. But when a manager to participates, you are just setting a bad example by normalising the act. If anyone tries to engage you in gossip, the first thing you need to do is disengage yourself from the conversation. And furthermore, you need to let your employees know that idle talk will not be tolerated. At least not in your immediate presence.

Don’t openly play favourites

There’s nothing more soul-crushing for an employee than to see your manager openly play favourites. It’s natural for us to prefer some people over others. But when those preferences get in the way of work and cloud your judgment, you’re being a bad manager. Mentor the employees you really like, but offer the same opportunities to everyone on the team.

Don’t try to be friends with employees

Just don’t. This will make things awkward not only for you but for your teammates else. Besides, when boundaries between superiors and subordinates blur at the workplace,  things get messy. Besides, your employees should be able to form their own relationships without the fear of their manager butting in. No matter how fun it seems or how well you seem to be getting along with your teammates, don’t be anything less than their manager. Once you seem like you are their friend, it will be a lot harder for you to ‘manage’ them when you need to.

Engagedly is a performance management application with elements of employee engagement.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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