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3 signs of bad managers

Traits of bad managers

Bad managers – at some point most of us have worked for them or at least seen one in action.

Of course, just because they are bad at their job doesn’t mean they are not nice people. However, the frustration and disengagement they cause can have a hugely negative impact on both their team and the business as a whole.

Here are just three of the traits displayed by bad managers that are causing big problems:

  1. They fail to manage conflict properly

Bad managers fail to manage conflict effectively within their team. This might be because they feel they are too busy to handle what they see as such trivial matters as employee squabbles or they may just not like conflict themselves and hope that the issue will just go away.

However, unless a disagreement or problem is proactively addressed it will just fester and grow, damaging staff motivation and engagement and potentially leading to grievances and legal action.

Of course, if they haven’t been trained in how to effectively manage conflict they might also be worried that their unskilled involvement will make matters worse – and they might just be right.

  1. They are unable to delegate

An inability to delegate is a clear sign of a bad manager.

Micro-managing your staff not only tells them that you don’t feel that they are good at their job, it also gives them a very strong reason for feeling disengaged – after all if you are always going to specify that things should be done your way, what’s the point of asking anyone else to do the job in the first place.

What’s more, because you are effectively re-doing work that has already been done or sitting with your member of staff at every stage of the task, your behavior will negatively impact on productivity. Not only are you effectively allocating two people to do one task, you are also losing time to do your own tasks as manager.

Sadly, this frustrating management approach is fairly rife. In fact, in one CMI study of 2000 employees, 26% reported that one of the worst management practices responsible for time lost is micro-management.

  1. They do not manage their team

Bad managers fail to set clear standards and expectations of what they want their team to achieve, then feel exasperated when they fail.

Whilst you might not want to make your team feel dictated to or micro-managed, failing to give them any idea of what you want them to achieve and in what timescales can leave them feeling rudderless and stressed.

Instead, try and find a balanced leadership style that will help staff feel that they are achieving their goals without feeling dictated to.

Whilst this is a fine art, it is sadly one that a lot of managers are struggling to achieve.

According to a 2012 paper from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills entitled: ‘Leadership and Management in the UK – the Key to Sustainable Growth’, 43% of UK managers rated their own line manager as ineffective.

What’s more, the CMI study of 2000 UK employees found that 75% of workers waste up to two hours out of their working week due to inefficient managers.

Of these, 33% said that unclear communication from managers was one of the worst management practices for causing wasted time, whilst 25% said that lack of direction was the main cause.

This wasted time is all adding up to create a very significant problem, equating to a loss of £900 per employee per year and a total loss to UK plc of £19.3billion.

Whose fault is it anyway?

So bad managers cost business and frustrate their staff. But is it fair to lay the blame solely at their door? Especially when so many UK companies realize that they are not giving their managers the training that they need?

In fact, one CIPD Annual Survey Report found that as many as 72% of organisations in England reported a deficit of management and leadership skills.

What’s more, this deficiency is affecting managers across the board, with 65% of organisations saying that their senior managers lacked management skills and 85% saying the deficiency lay with line managers and supervisors.

With such a lack of training for UK managers it is no wonder that some are demonstrating bad traits that hamper engagement and performance.

However, sadly many employers still lack the cash or the conviction when getting their managers properly trained, leaving it down to managers themselves to try and up-skill as best they can.

Whilst this might show willing, many managers are nonetheless keenly aware of the shortcomings that arise when taking this ‘self-taught’ approach.

This was highlighted in the CMI’s Economic Outlook survey of April 2012, where almost 40% of managers predicted that management skills shortages would have a damaging impact on their organisation in the following six months.

So if even managers are telling their bosses that management training is vital for helping them and their business to succeed, it does beg the obvious question: “Why aren’t they listening?” Maybe they just never got the training?

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