Over the last two articles, we have looked at the attributes and behaviours of both good and bad managers. In this final article in the series, we take a look at the ugly management traits that any Scrooge would take pride in.
Demotivating and belittling, these techniques are particularly favoured by insecure managers who see every team member as a threat, rather than a colleague and collaborator.
From time to time, we have all worked for, met or heard of these kinds of managers, so buckle up for four telltale signs that a manager is a Scrooge.
1. They are experts at the blame game
One of the ugliest management traits is when a manager advertises your mistakes loud and clear to everyone who cares to listen to make you seem completely incompetent at every opportunity.
If you have come across this sort of manager, you will probably also have found that they pass off any mistakes that they have made as being yours or those of your other team members.
Some particularly unpleasant managers are also not above setting you up completely: asking you to do something one way, then upbraiding you publicly by saying that you should have done it differently or that they had never asked you to do it in the first place. Nasty.
2. They claim your achievements as their own
Of course, the flip side of an ‘ugly’ manager passing the blame to their team members is taking credit for their achievements.
From secretly informing superiors that it was really they who had their employee’s great ideas, to openly labelling their employees’ research reports with their own name, we have heard of some very sneaky tactics designed to steal credit from where it is truly due.
3. They know how to make you feel small
As if stealing your thunder and blaming you for everything isn’t demotivating enough, the ‘ugly’ manager invariably uses every other opportunity to make their direct reports feel small.
From constantly critiquing your work and ‘having’ to re-do it their way to micro-managing you in how to use a keyboard, these nasty managers know just what buttons to press to make you feel useless.
4. They believe in divide and conquer
Another savvy technique used by ‘ugly’ managers to keep their direct reports from becoming a ‘threat’ is to turn them against each other whilst appearing to be unaware of the conflict.
From exacerbating their staff’s insecurities through acts of unfairness and favouritism to fabricating unpleasant comments that work colleagues have supposedly made about each other, these monstrous managers know no bounds when it comes to protecting their own interests.
What to do about an ‘ugly’ manager?
Dealing with a nasty manager can be tricky. Whilst you and some of your colleagues might be fully aware of their unfair behaviour, others might take advantage of the favouritism bestowed upon them and defend their manager to the hilt.
At the same time, your manager will have his superiors’ ear all of the time, rather than you, meaning that your Board may be completely convinced by his tales of incompetent and troublesome staff – of which they believe you are one.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should not try speaking to the HR department or a body such as Acas, as if you have enough evidence of their behaviour you may be able to prove that your manager is treating you unfairly.
Aside from that, your only hope may have to be that the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have visited them over Christmas and turned them into an A1 people manager.
However, unless you believe in miracles or can find a more practical solution to fixing the situation, it might be time to leave Scrooge behind for a job with a better manager. After all, you do deserve a happy New Year.
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Written by Fiona Sanderson
Fiona is Marketing Manager at myhrtoolkit. Her areas of expertise include HR systems, productivity, employment law updates, and creating HR infographics.