Most people have had their share of bad managers or bosses with less-than-ideal behaviors.
No matter the industry you’re in or the type of work you do daily, having a bad manager can quickly turn a positive workplace into one you dread going to every day. And, while no manager is perfect and there’s always room for improvement, it’s essential that you know which behavior to avoid to embody strong leadership and be a manager your team can count on during all types of scenarios.
Why is management behavior important?
Management behavior can make or break the workplace. Most managers are decent human beings with good intentions, but everyone will have an off day or find themselves in a less-than-ideal mood.
However, employees often quit or leave a company for another role because of their manager, not necessarily because of their job. Good management behavior can help an organization retain its top talent for the long haul while also making sure company culture is the best it can be.
Build better relationships
Having productive one-on-one meetings with your team will help foster trust, get to know each other better, and create a safe space. Try a tool like Fellow!
30 management behaviors to avoid
No matter if you’re a new manager or a seasoned boss with years of experience, check yourself for these 30 behaviors you’ll want to avoid.
- Multiplying tasks
- Being unresponsive
- Failing to acknowledge emotions
- Not giving reasoning
- Acting contradictory
- Eating first
- Not contributing in times of need
- Taking credit instead of giving
- Treating employees differently
- Communicating outside office hours
- Being indecisive
- Betraying confidence
- Not admitting to mistakes
- Acting like you know best
- Shooting down new ideas
- Ignoring burnout signals
- Not leading by example
- Being too busy to talk or listen
- Abusing power
- Trying to please everyone
- Being moody
- Ignoring performance issues
- Holding back relevant information
- Passively listening
- Wasting time in meetings
- Rarely asking for feedback
- Rarely offering feedback
- Having unrealistic expectations
- Underutilizing team members
1 Multiplying tasks
Do your best when assigning tasks to never assign the same one to two different employees. This multiplication of effort can cause an unintentional competition, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time at the end of the day.
2 Being unresponsive
If a direct report approaches you with a question, concern, or simply something they’d like to bring to your attention, don’t ignore them or make them feel like you’re too good to hear what they have to say. Give your team an answer or, if you don’t have one, let them know you’re going to find out an answer on their behalf.
3 Failing to acknowledge emotions
Your employees aren’t robots, so when they express frustration, concern, or signs of burnout, acknowledge them. Never make an employee feel bad, stupid, or silly for being emotional. You want people who care about your team.
4 Not giving reasoning
It’s not easy to trust a manager who withholds information or doesn’t share their reasoning. Give your team a peek into what’s happening behind the scenes and share the reasoning behind decisions.
5 Acting contradictory
Good managers avoid acting contradictory and instead focus on clear, concise, and consistent communication styles and standards.
6 Eating first
Eating first, or taking special privileges, is a management behavior that should be avoided. Think of this like flying first class to a conference while your team flies coach. Remember, there are times when a manager should be on the same playing field as their team.
7 Not contributing in times of need
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “all hands on deck!” you know how important it is for managers to step up in a crisis. Employees notice when a manager rolls up their sleeves and helps when needed. They’ll also notice when a manager thinks they’re “too good” or “above” helping out.
8 Taking credit instead of giving
If a manager wants the trust and loyalty of their team, they’ll give credit when it’s due. A manager should want to help their employees learn and grow, and part of that is celebrating when they see their team have success or accomplish a goal.
No one likes going to work and feeling like they’re on a short leash. Give your team the benefit of the doubt, trust your direct reports to do their jobs, and stop checking over their shoulders.
10 Treating employees differently
Think your team can’t tell when you play favorites? Think again.
Treating everyone on your team fairly can go a long way to establish a positive working environment.
11 Communicating outside office hours
It’s best to avoid sending emails andtexts or making phone calls on the weekend or after work, especially if you expect an immediate answer.
Instead, a manager should note their thoughts using meeting agenda software like Fellow so they won’t forget what they have to say, but they also won’t disturb their team after hours.
12 Being indecisive
It can be extremely frustrating to have a manager who either takes forever to make a decision or can’t make one in the first place. A manager with this type of behavior stands in the way and becomes a bottleneck for their team.
13 Betraying confidence
Another behavior managers should avoid is betraying confidence. Keep in mind the saying “loose lips sink ships.” Betraying the confidence of your direct reports is another way to lose trust, sometimes for good. Respect the privacy of your team and never gossip.
14 Not admitting to mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, but the best managers are the ones who own up and admit them. It’s poor behavior to point fingers or blame others for the mistakes of your own doing. Being able to admit shortcomings can humanize a manager and make them seem more relatable.
Plus, if you want your team to admit their mistakes, you better be ready to admit your own.
15 Acting like you know best
While it’s common for a manager to have more experience than their direct reports, remember that doesn’t automatically mean the manager knows more than their team. Having a “my way or the highway” outlook is bound to stifle your team and those around you.
16 Shooting down new ideas
It’s in a manager’s best interest to be open to new ideas, no matter where they come from. Being quick to say no to suggestions as they get thought of will limit the success of not only your direct reports, but also the organization as a whole.
17 Ignoring burnout signals
Job burnout can happen to everyone, so it is important to know the warning signs and act on them. Instead of piling on more and more work and responsibilities, keep an eye out for what burnout could look like in your team, and give your staff a break before they hit their breaking point.
18 Not leading by example
No one wants a manager who lives by the phrase “do as I say, not as I do.” Employees want to have a manager who’s a leader and a role model, not someone with hypocritical tendencies and methods.
19 Being too busy to talk or listen
While managers are busy people, this doesn’t mean they’re too busy to talk or listen to what their team has to say. Don’t just give your employees your full attention during one-on-one meetings, instead communicate as often as possible.
20 Abusing power
A surefire way to get your team to start applying for jobs elsewhere is to be a bully of a boss: one that leans on using sarcasm, insults, or rude behavior to make sure their employees stay in their place and get their work done. Nothing will create a toxic workplace faster than abusing the power of being a manager.
21 Trying to please everyone
It’s impossible to make everyone happy, and a manager who spends all of their time trying to please everyone won’t have time to do anything else. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up when things don’t align, or if one of your team members is less than pleased with a decision or a change to processes.
22 Being moody
While it’s fine to show you have emotion, there’s a fine line between doing so and coming across as moody, unpredictable, or emotionally volatile. Don’t be the manager around whom your employees have to walk on eggshells, depending on your mood that day.
23 Ignoring performance issues
If one of your direct reports is slacking off, your other team members are sure to notice. What’s more, they’ll notice when you decide to ignore the lazy behavior. Don’t let a team member get away with skating by with a performance that’s just so-so or barely doing their job.
Failing to address poor performance will quickly lower morale.
24 Holding back relevant information
There’s a time and place for surprises — and the workplace isn’t one of them.
Give your team as much information as possible when something important happens in the company or when a process changes. No one wants to be left in the dark, and being the manager that is open and honest and that shares relevant information allows your employees to take ownership of the company and its success.
25 Passively listening
Passively listening, or listening without reacting, means that you allow your employees to speak without interruption, but you’re not really paying attention to what’s being said. Instead, do your best to be a manager who actively listens, meaning you carefully pay attention to what’s being said and respond accordingly.
26 Wasting time in meetings
Time is money, and everyone loses when you waste time in meetings. Before holding any type of meeting with your team, make sure you’ve sent an agenda and assigned meeting roles beforehand. Additionally, meetings should start and end on time, and the notes should be sent after.
Use a meeting tool like Fellow to ensure your meetings are as productive as possible.
27 Rarely asking for feedback
You know you’re not perfect, but asking for feedback from your team can seem daunting. Regardless, without the feedback of those you manage on a daily basis, you’ll never grow and do better in your role.
28 Rarely offering feedback
Be sure to give your team the feedback they need to grow and succeed in their role, whether it’s positive or negative. Additionally, don’t wait until their annual review to provide feedback; give it when it’s appropriate and called for.
29 Having unrealistic expectations
There’s only so much time in the workday, and there’s only so much that your direct reports can cross off their to-do lists. A manager should strive to have realistic expectations of their team regarding turnaround times, deadlines, and responsibilities.
30 Underutilizing team members
Your team is talented, and the sooner you recognize this talent, the better. If you make the most of the talent on your team, your direct reports will be ableto grow their professional skills and show off what they’re good at.
Top 5 habits of good management behavior
Now that you better understand the behaviors to avoid, you can do your best to exemplify the top five habits every manager should try to develop:
- Leading by example in all situations
- Being transparent and vulnerable
- Aligning goals with organizational values
- Being human
- Showing appreciation for their hard work and dedication
Manage with confidence
Even the best manager in the world will struggle with a handful of these behaviors, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself guilty of a couple. If you’ve found yourself to be guilty of more than just a few behaviors, now is the time to work on them so you can be the best manager for yourself, your team, and your organization.