10 Bad Management Habits

You must recognise the signs of bad management if you want to run a high-performing organisation. Poorly performing managers will never be able to lead an organisation to excellence.

These are 10 bad management habits and behaviours that no company should tolerate.

Bad managers always “have to clean up the mess”

Bad managers “clean up the mess” of their predecessors, even when there is no mess.

When hired in a new position, a bad manager says the predecessor has made such a mess of the department that it will take at least one year—if not more—to get everything back on track, and that at this point, the department cannot possibly even begin achieving its goals this year, or maybe next year.

The bad manager is always busy, busy, busy

It’s impossible to keep up with their regular tasks since they’re so busy with so many projects! Because these projects are critical for the success of the organisation (or so they say), a bad manager cannot possibly accomplish their department’s goals as well.

They’ll get to it when they’re done with their other projects, which never happens.

Poor management manipulates objectives

Their departmental goals are loose, with plenty of slack, so the targets are very easy to reach. Bad managers will never get optimal results from their departments, but that’s not important to them; they would rather achieve low performance than lose their jobs.

Bad managers only manage from a distance

Bad managers love performance indicators because they allow them to manage hands-off. This allows poorly performing managers to avoid the day-to-day activities of a department altogether.

Even if something goes wrong, they can avoid accountability because they weren’t there!

Bad managers always blame someone else

Managers who fail to meet departmental targets can come up with a variety of excuses. As a result, they blame the management reports for not representing the performance accurately; after all, their own reports show that they met their targets.

Often, managers blame the outside world: the economy was struggling, it rained too much, there wasn’t enough rain, whatever. But that’s the reason everything seemed to be going against them, and there were no opportunities to reach goals!

This blame is usually placed on the weakest member of the team. It is therefore necessary for the organisation to hire someone new before they can expect to work towards their targets.

They claim next year will be better. Bad managers make lengthy, impressive plans

They know that writing elaborate, wordy, and complex plans always impresses top management because they give the impression they are on top of their game and have thought of everything.

These verbose plans also cover all sorts of assumptions and preconditions, which function as safeguards when top management complains that the goals have not been met. It is typical for such managers to bury disclaimers and clauses in their complex language.

Additionally, employees are unlikely to read or understand these, so it will take a long time for the department to begin implementing the plan, if it ever is.

A bad manager communicates in only one way

Managers who are ineffective can still maintain an open forum for employees to express concerns, questions, and suggestions.

Isn’t this what a good manager does? Unfortunately, the bad manager will only pretend to listen to employee feedback, but will not act on it. Bad managers ignore employee feedback and stick to their own plan. Whenever someone complains, management uses open forums against the participants, claiming any incompetence is everyone’s fault.

Poor managers only have eyes for the shareholders

Poor managers only have eyes for the shareholders. As a result, bad managers will always work hard to satisfy these shareholders at the expense of their organisation’s long-term interests.

Bad managers are Machiavellians

They keep Machiavelli’s The Prince from 1513 on their bedside table and they consult it often for advice on how to control colleagues, employees and bosses with effective “divide and conquer” strategies. The targeted members in the organisation can no longer focus on growing the department, as they are preoccupied with protecting their backs instead.

Bad managers have an exit plan

A bad manager moves on to another organisation when it’s time for them to be held accountable for their actions. This person usually has their exit strategy planned for a long time and they always have a fall-back organisation where they can hide.

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