confidence managers

8 signs you’re a bad manager – even if you haven’t realised it yet

8 signs you’re a bad manager – even if you haven’t realised it yet


Having good leadership skills is a combination of personality traits including compassion, strategic planning, vision and people management. Annual appraisals only go so far, but they are more focused on the employees than they are the manager.


Professional coach Rita Sever writes in her book, ‘Supervision Matters: 100 Bite-Sized Ideas to Transform You and Your Business’, that it’s the quality of supervision that often “makes or breaks a leader — and an organisation”.

Business Insider has collated eight signs that you’re a bad manager, even if you don’t feel that way yourself. The dangers of flying blind, of not noticing your mistakes, can have serious ramifications not only on your career, but on the careers of those around you, and on the future profitability and sustainability of your company.


1. You ignore HR

HR makes the rules for a reason, and flouting them not only sets a bad example to your staff but makes you seem incompetent. “You think HR policies are made-up rules that don’t have anything to do with the real world,” Sever writes. “HR is there for a reason, and it’s not up to you to bend the rules.”



2. You have favourites

By not enforcing the same rules across the whole team, you may be accused of favouritism towards some employees which, in turn, can lead to resentment. By allowing certain workers to forgo important deadlines, turn up to work late or take long lunches, it appears as if you care more about them individually than you do the team as a unit. Sever recommends that you take each of your employees out on a one-on-one basis for lunch or coffee, and make notes of any concerns they raise.



3. You’re overly domineering

Reminding your workers incessantly they “they work for you”, is not a very constructive form of leadership. Sever reminds managers that they should be working in partnership with their teams, rather than acting like an authoritarian.



4. You’re unapproachable

By commandeering meetings and brainstorming sessions, Sever explains that managers run the risk of shutting down communication in the team. Sever writes that bad managers “believe that ‘if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile’. And it all starts when you listen to them — even for a minute. “Spending two to three minutes at the start of your team meetings on something light-hearted is worth its weight in gold.”



5. You’ve lost focus on the company’s mission

A good leader has one eye on the immediate projects and one of the overarching strategic aims on the company. A manager who has forgotten the firm’s values and mission statement is doomed for failure. As Sever puts it, if you don’t believe in your company’s mission, how can you expect your team to?



6. You never have one-on-one meetings

Setting aside the annual review, managers should be meeting up with their team on a regular basis – to discuss any issues they may have and settled any questions. Sever recommends starting with a ten-minute meeting with each employee each week. “As important as keeping the meeting is making it two-way,” she writes. “This is not a ten-minute lecture. Listen at least as much as you talk.”



7. You give off mixed signals

Sending mixed signals to your workers is like playing with fire. If one minute you’re all smiles and the next you’re all fire and brimstone, staff won’t know how to take you or what to expect. This, in turn, can lead to absenteeism, burn out and soured relationships.



8. You give no feedback

Feedback is an essential part of any manager’s role. It’s a two-way street. By denying staff feedback, they will never learn how to correct their mistakes and their career progression will, most likely, stunt.  “Give prompt and specific feedback,” Sever recommends. “Ask your employees how your style of supervision works for them. Do not defend. Do not argue. Just listen.”




For advice and guidance from a UK leading specialist in Employment law, HR and Health and Safety Services, please contact HPC.

Link to full HR Grapevine article with the Top 8 signs you’re a bad manager:

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