Catherine's Career Corner
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November 16th, 2011
Are You the Nightmare Manager?

Are you a manager in any organization? If yes, do you know how you are perceived by your staff and colleagues? Are you the nightmare manager? You may be the last person to know the type of manager you are. Let’s explore these 8 indications to determine answers to the question, ‘Are you the nightmare manager from hell?’.

Are you a bad manager CatherinesCareerCorner

By Catherine Adenle

If you are a manager, I am sure that you’ll agree with me that it’s not easy being the manager. Sometimes, too many competing priorities can inhibit your capabilities to fully perform your role as a manager.

I recently read a post on the research from CLC Human Resources program which shows that the three areas that most managers, even great ones struggle with are providing effective feedback, evaluating employee performance, and turning around underperformance.

Amongst other tasks, the three highlighted above are hard areas for many managers to work on. Why you may ask, well, it’s because the way individual managers conduct them directly affects their teams, as any missteps are likely to create irreparable friction.

At present, lack of jobs, the general worldwide economic situation seems to have forced some employees to improve their relationships with their managers. However, manager-bashing is still a favourite pastime for some of these employees. Unfortunately, many nightmare managers from hell are usually the last to know how awful they truly are to work for.

So, as a manager, how do you know if your employees are just trying to let off steam by bashing you or if you are truly the nightmare manager from hell to work for?

Well here are 8 indications to answer the question,  ‘are you the nightmare manager?’

  1. You can’t trust any of your staff: You don’t trust people to do their jobs; you have to always pop up at all times to monitor or peek into your employees’ cubicles to check if they are doing what they are being paid to do. This lack of trust plays out in a number of damaging ways. For instance, micromanaging everything they do is a big one.

    If you also constantly check up on what they are doing, record their every step or sneak around, that’s another. If you treat your employees as if they are untrustworthy by placing cameras on top of their desks, watching their every move, tracking their internet footprints, always rebuking them for every slight failing just because you think people are generally untrustworthy, then, you are a nightmare manager from hell to work for. And one more thing that I need to say to you is, ‘Please, get a life!
  2. Slow or fail to react to problems that will fester if ignored. If you have a habit of hoping that things will go away, you have no reason to be a manager of people. If you can’t address an uncomfortable issue, staff conflict or disagreements, you are a nightmare manager from hell to work for. Trust me; difficult situations will not go away on their own if you don’t do anything to resolve them. Workplace issues, especially among staff, just get worse unless something changes. A proactive manager will intervene to make sure employees have the skills necessary to resolve the issue. A nightmare manager is not aware that workplace drama and hysteria will interrupt motivation, morale, productivity, and staff engagement.
  3. Your staff look and act miserable. If your staff look miserable, then they are miserable. To be honest, I don’t care how bad you are regarding self reflections, if you know that your staff are miserable and haven’t done anything about it then, you are a nightmare manager from hell.
  4. You are the king or queen of e-mails. If you rarely talk to your staff face-to-face, I don’t need to tell you that you are a nightmare manager to work for. If you are located in the same office as your staff and you rarely talk to them, then you know that you a bad boss. Relying on emails may be convenient, but you don’t want to be the king or queen of e-mails! We are all increasingly using technology to enhance what we do in the workplace but none should replace that human element. You cannot use an e-mail to avoid having tough discussions. If you always do, you are classified as a nightmare boss to work with. Having a face to face ad hoc and planned meetings or discussions will engender trust with your employees.
  5. You throw your staff under the proverbial red bus. You are a nightmare manager from hell if you always cover your back by not taking responsibility for what goes wrong in the areas that you manage. If it comes naturally to you to blame your staff when confronted by executive leadership, then you are a nightmare manager. If you are not aware, let me tell you now, the responsibility to manage your team is ultimately yours as the manager. So, act with dignity and protect your staff as necessary. If you don’t your staff will distrust you if it gets to them. Throwing your staff under the red bus will make your executive leaders question whether you are capable of doing your job of leading your team. When you throw your staff under the bus, you jeopardize your credibility, career and the ability to manage.
  6. You can’t communicate. If you fail to communicate to your staff, then you are a nightmare manager to work for. Not communicating effectively or withholding important information is one of the indications that you are not managing correctly. How transparent things are in your team is indicative of how effective your communication is. The best communication is transparent communication. Sure, some information is company confidential. You may have been asked to keep certain information under wraps for awhile, but aside from these rare occasions, if you don’t share what you know, then, you are a nightmare manager from hell to work for.
  7. You are never asked to be a referee. You are a nightmare manager if you have a group of former employees that rarely give your name as a reference for new jobs. It shows that they don’t trust you to give them their due, or they worry that because they were so miserable working for you, your recollections of them and their contributions will also be murky.
  8. Your staff don’t know where they stand: If you are one of those managers that complain that your staff are insecure and always asking for your input or approval, ask yourself why they might be behaving that way. Although, all staff need effective feedback to do their jobs well, great bosses don’t hesitate or neglect to tell employees whether they are performing well or not. If you leave your staff in the dark, it will only lead to disengagement and perplexity about what you want them to do.

As a manager, if you recognize any of these 8 signs in yourself, don’t despair. We all have the potential to change our behaviour. Even the worst manager is capable of change. The first step is to acknowledge it and then make a visible commitment to change. Don’t keep your resolution to yourself though. Explain to your team that you are working on becoming a better manager and explain what that means and the changes they will see.

So, what are the other indications of a nightmare manager from hell? Feel free to share them with us.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

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2 thoughts on “Are You the Nightmare Manager?

  1. Fostering an environment of learning should also not be neglected. Learning and obtaining skills/experience is a motivator for a high percentage of people. Knowing what motivates/demotivates reports is important.

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