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How bad managers affect employees

The truth is bad managers have a huge impact on an employee. Eunice Asante, career coach at The Workers Journal she breaks it down and explains what you can do if you are experiencing a bad manager.

I'm experiencing all sorts of feelings as I write this week’s post because I know how devastating it can feel to work under a bad manager. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced working with a bad manager or two.

What is a bad manager?

Before we delve deep and start discussing the impact of bad managers, let's first take a look at what a bad manager is. The role of a manager in a general sense is someone who is responsible for five main areas of business, planning, organising, staffing, leading and controlling.

A manager is therefore, someone that combines all the areas of business in order to gain results while maximising human potential.

Put simply it’s your manager's job to ensure goals are met, teams have the support they need and that you, as an employee, know what to do and are working to your potential. When these conditions are met, you are more likely to feel secure within your role and perform well.

A bad manager is a manager that does not understand the importance of balancing the different areas of business - or does not know how to do this effectively. As a result, employees are not able to get what you need from the workplace in order to experience personal and team success.

If you do decide to leave, understand that it takes great courage to leave a situation that is not serving you anymore

What bad managers do

What makes things worse is that a bad manager refuses or is unable to see the problems around them. These problems can be either caused by organisational structures or by poor leadership. Instead of addressing problems, they ignore and deflect problems resulting in issues never being addressed. This can lead to good employees becoming cynical, frustrated, complacent, and becoming poor performers. Bad managers are bad news for everyone.

How to identify bad managers

Although managers are unique, there are common traits that are evident when looking at the behavioural patterns of bad managers.

● They micromanage and find it difficult to trust their employee to deliver the work. They limit output, slow growth and frustrate employees.

● They focus on blame instead of solutions. They create a culture of fear and inconsistency.

● They lack focus and discipline and it’s hard to get answers or straightforward solutions from them.

● Instead of acknowledging individual or team successes, they take every opportunity to exalt themselves and minimise their teams.

● They do not understand where to draw the line, lack self-awareness or know how to create professional boundaries.

● Bad managers have favourites within teams which creates unfairness, breaks up teams and disrespects employees.

● Bad managers never take responsibility for their failures, they forget important details, dismiss issues and expect everyone to be like them.

How bad managers lose good staff

Bad managers create toxic environments and it is impossible to work under toxic conditions without feeling the effects physically or mentally. This can lead to good staff leaving eventually and even when employees decide to stay in a toxic work environment, they are often not fully present and work becomes a tick-box exercise.

How to deal with a bad manager

● Identify your managers triggers and find coping strategies around these

● Arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss what you need to succeed at work and which management style is most helpful to you.

● If you are dealing with an insecure manager, be careful not to blame them. Instead identify their motivations and approach them from that perspective.

● Focus on agreed actions and outcomes you both would like to see and how you both can create an environment for success

● Look out for other mentors within the workplace that you can turn to for support and opportunities

● Consider moving teams and working under a different manager

● Consider talking to HR for guidance and advice

● If all else fails you may want to consider finding a new job

When is it the right time to leave a bad manager?

Only you will know when the time is right, so give yourself time to think through how you feel and to consider all your options. If you do decide to leave, understand that it takes great courage to leave a situation that is not serving you anymore. Be sure to learn the lessons and know what to look out for when considering taking up employment with another organisation.

I remember working at an organisation where certain departments were constantly recruiting staff, because people only lasted a few months due to a bad manager. It was exhausting for everyone involved, the team was never able to grow as they were constantly onboarding new staff.

Aiming to speak to current employees, finding the average length of staff retention and paying close attention to the culture of an organisation are things I now consider before taking up employment.

Don’t let a bad manager derail you from achieving your career goals. Learn how to work with or around bad managers and know that their downfall is inevitable.

If you would like coaching advice, or have questions around your career and how to optimise success get in touch with me here.

Until next time

Eunice Asante



Traits of a bad manager:

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