A great manager can lead a team to a mountain top, but a sub-par leader can lead a great company into the ground. And maybe straight on into hell. Here is a surely incomplete list of the terrible, awful, no good, very bad traits a manager can have.
A Culture of “No”
If, whenever you’re on the fence about something, you generally decide “No, better safe than sorry”, your chances of being innovative or even just keeping up are pretty terrible. That used to be okay in the old days, but safe is the new dangerous. When you think about it, there really aren’t a lot of powerful leaders nowadays who are stodgy (that aren’t on sitcoms as punch lines, anyway). Also, if your kneejerk reaction to your employees’ ideas is “no”, say goodbye to employees ever going the extra mile.
You’re Critical 75% (or More) of the Time
If you’re too frequently critical when reviewing employees’ work, there could be a different result than you’d expect. You might think you’re ultimately improving the quality of what your employees deliver. Wrong—you’re actually slowing down future production speed and making the employee more apathetic.
How? If your criticism isn’t constructively directing them toward a better end product, or is overly subjective in nature, you’re adding mental obstacles to every job that employee does in the future. The result? Slower general turnaround times on tasks because the employee is over-thinking and wants to put off interacting with you as long as possible since it’s routinely counterproductive.
I hit a point at one job where I figured I was getting paid to withstand criticism that wasn’t constructive X amount of times in a given week. Once I reached that criticism quota, I avoided chances to earn more if at all possible. I took the path of least resistance, stopped proactively offering ideas, and started becoming a Yes man (err, woman). It was great! But it probably didn’t help the company much. Hopefully, your employees are nothing like me, but if you’re seeing some of those habits, it might be worth assessing what your critical percentage is.
A Fickle Nature
This one is possibly the worst on this list and here’s why: your entire ability to lead your team hinges on whether or not they believe you and believe in you. If you’re known for frequently changing your mind (without good reason), guess what? Your team is taking your insight with a huge grain of salt or even tuning you out. They have to if they want to get any work done. If involving you in their process just means they have to keep doing and re-doing the same work to no one’s satisfaction, nobody wins and no appreciable progress is ever made.
A Lack of Follow-Through
If you’re inclined to overload your employees with tasks then only follow through (perhaps angrily) on half of those projects, your staff will approach every task half-heartedly. They’ll assume that you weren’t serious about some of the assignments, and they’ll make their best guesses as to what you really want. Solution: prioritize their work for them ahead of time and make sure you’re distributing tasks evenly.
I know I'm forgetting some. What are the worst leadership traits you’ve had to put up with at work?