Qualities of Bad Managers

Characteristics of a bad manager

Managers and leaders of any kind play a critical role in organizations, from the influence they have over employees to the way a company functions operationally and culturally. While good management skills spur productivity, employee retention and success, bad management can be incredibly detrimental. Almost every professional will face working with a bad manager at some point in their career. Here are some of the most common characteristics of a bad manager.


Micromanaging doesn’t benefit your direct reports in the long run. In addition to causing stress in the workplace, it also prevents your employees from demonstrating their creativity and enthusiasm for projects. There are many ways to accomplish the same task; just because your employees perform it in a different way doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Employees are averse to micromanaging bosses and they will leave at their first opportunity, which also affects organizational development.


This quality refers to a manager who is simply going through the motions at work. They accomplish their tasks, collect work from employees and then check out. While mechanical managers can be effective at their job on the surface, they give the impression that they don’t value the organization they work for or value their employees. This means they lose out on the opportunity to make a real difference in their organization and in the lives of those under their supervision. If employees don’t feel appreciated, they won’t last long in your department.

Not communicative

Not communicating enough with your employees causes confusion and frustration. This could range from not giving clear instructions about a project all the way to failing to provide feedback after work is completed. Ineffective communication affects productivity levels as well, since employees will have to stop and ask questions as they go as opposed to having all the information they need in the beginning.

Demands authority

Some managers make the mistake of thinking they automatically deserve to be respected because of their title and position. This is sure to backfire with employees since people are more prone to respect those who have gained their status through positive words and actions.


Many managers are underprepared for leadership roles simply because their organization has not provided the needed training. This means that some managers lack soft skills or leadership skills that could help them be more effective in their role, which causes frustration for the manager and for the employees and overall poor management.


If an employee doesn’t feel that they can approach their manager about work issues or even personal issues, this creates a barrier that a manager may not even be aware of. If employees put up a wall between them and their manager, this creates problems. It makes it difficult for a manager to mentor or resolve problems at work, and it makes it hard for employees to accept suggestions and feedback.

Takes undue credit

Bad managers feel that their team is supposed to work hard to make them look good. This means that they will also take the credit for any good ideas or accomplishments that may have come from their department. This attitude can crush the enthusiasm and creativity of employees, and they will no longer provide new ideas or solutions for problems since they will assume their manager will steal them.


When a manager is negative, it brings down the morale of the whole department. Negativity is contagious and creates a difficult work environment for employees. When a manager fails to bring positivity to the workplace, this also reflects badly on the organization and its values. Employees will not want to stay long working under a constantly negative boss.

Doesn’t have standardized rules

Some managers make the mistake of playing favorites, such as making exceptions for those they used to work with or for those who have been in the organization for a longer amount of time, in an attempt to be liked by everyone. However, when a manager is so malleable to certain people, it makes it difficult for other employees to respect them.

To succeed as a boss, avoid these characteristics of bad managers:

— Micromanaging.

— Mechanical.

— Not communicative.

— Demands authority.

— Unprepared.

— Unapproachable.

— Takes undue credit.

— Negative.

— Doesn’t have standardized rules.

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Qualities of Bad Managers originally appeared on usnews.com

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