Only Weak Managers Do These Ten Cowardly Things

John Krautzel
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Weak managers are a major cause of employee turnover for many businesses. Because employees spend so much of their workday alongside their superiors, it makes sense that a poorly trained or ineffective manager would cause serious stress for workers. Heed the following signs of a weak manager.

1. Self-Serving

Weak managers are typically very self-centered. They might take credit for work performed by their colleagues but won't hesitate to deflect the blame when problems arise.

2. Abuse Power

A poor manager may abuse their authority in various ways, such as pulling the plug on certain projects or withholding promotions or pay increases. This type of behavior is usually a misguided attempt to garner respect and fear from their subordinates.

3. Fails to Follow His Own Standards

Another common misbehavior of bad bosses is failing to follow through on their own expectations. Managers who set rules for others but don't hold up their own end of the bargain risk alienating their employees and create a breeding ground for mistrust and discontent.

4. Prevents Employee Growth

A bad manager prevents the growth of his employees, whether intentionally or not. A talented employee is likely to lose motivation in an environment where he cannot freely contribute his ideas. Allowing employees to use their own creativity to solve problems and develop solutions leads to a confident and versatile workforce.

5. Micromanages Employees

A micromanager is constantly looking over the shoulders of his employees, ready to nitpick. In addition to being extremely annoying, this behavior sends the message that he doesn't trust his employees, which might cause workers to become stressed or defensive.

6. Takes Advantage of Employees

Bad managers try to extract as much work from their employees as possible, but without offering a corresponding salary increase or promotion. Overworking employees without offering rewards often leads to employee frustration and burnout.

7. Displays Signs of Insecurity

Bad bosses are insecure and may become threatened by stellar employees or highly effective managers. They might try to sabotage another person's success to make themselves feel better or look superior in the eyes of top-level associates.

8. Hypercritical

A bad manager may feel threatened by a star employee and might attempt to shoot down that employee's confidence by constantly criticizing and nitpicking their work.

9. Unappreciative

A bad manager isn't mature enough to express sincere appreciation when it is appropriate. This lack of graciousness can cause employees to lose motivation and become disgruntled.

10. Inflexible

A good manager is able to remain open minded and listen to input from others. A weak manager is rigid and only wants things done a certain way. This can stifle company growth and employee morale.

Managing employees is a learned skill that doesn't come easy. It requires sensitivity and excellent communication ability, in addition to patience and good problem-solving skills. Weak managers can cause problems in the workplace, such as decreased morale among the workforce. It is imperative to recognize the signs of a weak manager and make sure you never develop these traits.

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  • J. B.
    J. B.

    Like Michael C., I have worked for 'bosses' and not 'leaders.' Leaders inspire by leading with enthusiasm. All I get from my current 'boss' is a stream of hypercritical epithets, it seems. And, my boss has already chased off one employee from my group. I have some personal goals to attain before I leave the company. There are great aspects about the company, but this one 'boss' ruins it entirely for me.

  • Michael C.
    Michael C.

    Unfortunately I have worked for "bosses" more then "leaders". Hence I always try to be a leader rather than a boss. Does not always work well with the boss, but I have to do what is right.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Thomas M thanks for your comments. It's tough when you have a manager like that. Especially one who will not admit that they are not sure or they don't know the answer or even that they made a mistake. Those types of managers are usually the ones who get to stay while we, the ones who did the actual work, are let go. There's really no way to get around this except to find another position. Reporting this manager to HR doesn't really help as it can cause all kinds of issues - including your dismissal from the company. You can wait it out. Sooner or later that manager is going to end up with her back against the wall and have to either come out swinging or admit defeat and move on. So, if you can hang in, all the best.

  • Thomas M.
    Thomas M.

    1 can't handle a dissenting opinion, even when she asks for other opinions. Works like this: At a management meeting she expresses her opinion on a matter. Then she asks others at the meeting to express their opinions on that matter. An employee expresses a dissenting opinion, appropriately and professionally. At the end of the meeting the dissenter is told to come to #1's office, where she tells the employee she will not tolerate such open dissention from him, and threatens him with consequences ("I will make you pay!").

  • Thomas M.
    Thomas M.
    1. Denies making mistakes - (more dishonesty) Sends out an email that contains a mistake. When she realizes she did this, she sends out another, much longer email explaining why the mistake in the first email wasn't a mistake. Such immaturity is comical and sad. Strong, confident managers don't mind saying "i made a mistake."
  • Thomas M.
    Thomas M.
    1. Dishonesty - Claims to have a good understanding of a subject area, when she does not, but remains silent on what she knows. After listening to others offer their detailed knowledge of the subject matter, she says "Yes, I knew that." It is so obvious she is lying to prevent others from knowing what she doesn't know it is like listening to a six year old lying. Confident, strong leaders are honest about what they do and don't know.
  • Thomas M.
    Thomas M.

    Another sign of a bad manager...

  • Cindy A.
    Cindy A.

    This information is great but it helps to see the managers tactics in greater detail. Ex. I had a manager that would take my sale and then tell me that they had a right to do so if they, as a manager, felt I would lose the sale. If they decided to deny taking my sale, they would say "no, I do not take your sales. See, here are sales you've made that I did not take." To follow the logic of their first statement, Yes, if they can save the sale that way then do so! I agree. But, if the clerk already has the customers' choice(s) and the customer is still looking for more and has given you their information to complete the sale when they find all they want...You have the sale and are not going to lose it. The manager is NOT taking it to save it but rather to claim it. However, If they show you sales that you made when the manager could not possibly have been able to take them or they are ones the manager did not want to "waste time" on then the denial may very well be false. Ex. The manager shows you lots of sales that you made while they were gone from the office for whatever reason, bathroom to vacation or day off. All of these tactics seem reasonable because they are. But they are all "bent" to the benefit of the manager. If the employee is being bullied or otherwise, then they may find this true and be even more confused and stand a greater chance of being "mistreated" or worse. These articles with this one are all very good. Please go into greater detail with some so as those who can't yet distinguish the subtle "Weak" manager tactics from their own job capabilities.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Earle M thanks for your comment. I hear your frustration. But you know, sooner or later, that supervisor is going to get into a situation where he doesn't have time to run to his workers to get the information and then the truth will come out. All you have to do is hang in and wait, if you can.

  • earle m.
    earle m.

    It is very frustrating when your supervisor pumps you for technical info. Then makes a bee line for the superintendents office to parrot it as his own on a regular basis.

  • Daniel Caissie
    Daniel Caissie

    Thanks, can I add this manager even told me no one was getting raises because he was giving that one person the raise so he won't leave, that was my sign to get out

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @Daniel Caissie so sorry that you had to go through that. Sadly, I think that most companies have the "golden boy/girl" who gets away with murder and never really finishes their work but pawns it off on someone else. Then, when the deadline is not met, blames on that poor unsuspecting employee. Every company I have worked for has at least one of those. Truly unfortunate but, I believe that, sooner or later, the golden boy is going to fail and no one is going to be there to pick up the pieces. @Julie M you had utopia in the workplace! So sorry that things went south once he departed. Hopefully your new boss has at least some of the qualities of the old one. @Angela P so sorry for your situation also. How do you start over - just go for it. You have to leave that behind you and start fresh. If you need to - talking to someone else - like a therapist can really help. You can get out all of your anger and frustration and move on. On a Christian radio station that I listen to - they had a case just like yours. Their recommendation was to write down all of your feelings - hate, disappointment, etc. and then either burn it or shred it and watch it all disappear. Sounds silly doesn't it but it kind of works. It's not that you will forget - it's just that it will allow you to move on and view the world with fresh eyes. Hope that helps.

  • Daniel Caissie
    Daniel Caissie

    I've had lots of great managers over the years contracting, but I did have the one who was almost a perfect match to your list, people were rotating all the time except his one golden child, this one guy was even allowed to lock his office door and take naps

  • Julie M.
    Julie M.

    I had a boss once who made a point not to sweat the small stuff...didn't nit pick when we were five or ten minutes late because he recognized that we always worked past 5:00pm. He coached us in a way where he set the expectation that we already knew how to do our jobs, which really brought our skills to the next level. Most importantly, he defended us from the number monkeys at the top of the corporate machine. He knew if he let corporate micromanage our numbers we'd all leave in short order. Nobody can sustain that kind of daily criticism/nitpicking and be happy in a job. He made a bad business model good for us, by calling the bluff of corporate and not letting number-watching dictate everything we did. We were free to work and innovate in our own way. It was awesome. We also had better numbers as a result. When he left, it went completely downhill and never recovered.

  • Angela P.
    Angela P.

    Left a job of 17 years because of bad do you start over after all of those years trusting management at any company? I feel that I will not trust management wherever I go...

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for your comments. It is unfortunate that managers like this are still allowed to be managers. I am guessing that we have all had bad managers at one time or another. So, if your job is over, pick yourself up and start over. When you go to your next interview, ask questions about the manager and his style. Tell him/her what you encountered at your last job but say it professionally - not with hurt and anger. Never badmouth a boss or a company. @Jeremy, if we took a survey, we would probably find that the majority of respondents feel that they are overworked and underpaid. It's a sad commentary on our times.

  • Anji Montoya
    Anji Montoya

    our managers at my job have favorites and the others are treated like shit

  • Donna W.
    Donna W.

    Sounds like this would be a great book title: Controlling Employees through Fear, Guilt, and Intimidation by Jack Ass

  • Jenny B.
    Jenny B.

    A good manager will thank his or her employees at the end of the day. I have been working at a job where I'm unable to use my skills because of bad management.

  • Jeremy Thornton
    Jeremy Thornton

    Mine was too Cheryl. I loved my job, the people I worked with and the, believe it or not, the paperwork.


    I left my last job due to a manager like this. Sad, because it was a good gig otherwise.

  • Jeremy Thornton
    Jeremy Thornton

    6 happened to me. Over worked and underpaid and appreciated. My old Ops Mgr was a total chode. Hope he reads this sometime. This article should've been posted on his office door. Sorry, I'm still bitter over being replace by a computer program.

  • Rita R.
    Rita R.

    I agree!

  • Evelyn F.
    Evelyn F.

    I work for some one like that also they are all of that

  • jason a.
    jason a.

    I totally agree with Lisa !!

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