Ineffective Management And How To Work Around It

Ineffective Management And How To Work Around It

I recently was at a lunch gathering with former colleagues of mine and the conversation seemingly always tends to steer towards their current and former managers at their respective companies. If you’ve ever worked for a company for any substantial length of time you’ve most likely had the unfortunate experience of working with an ineffective manager. Someone that thinks they’re leading the charge in the right direction but ultimately kills team morale, motivation and just makes work life difficult. Direct reports rely on a manager to help them reach levels of significant success. Let’s look at some of the ways (too many to list quite honestly) ineffective managers broadcast their message and as a self-checklist, how you can overcome them:

It Is What It Is. This is by far, my biggest pet peeve from any manager I’ve ever had to work for. Basically it’s them telling you in the nicest way, “We can’t do anything about it, you’re F#$@ed.” Managers should remove this phrase from their arsenal of responses. It’s mainly a filler statement to end a conversation when theirs no real answer or an inability to think of a logical response to a concern.

Your boss’ skills are irrelevant or outdated. Ever have that manager who likes to talk about the “good ole days?” or how they sold back twenty five years ago? The conversation is designed to feel like they’re trying to relate to you, but you take it as “it will never work in today business setting.”

Your boss doesn’t understand the realities of the marketplace. The reality is an employee thinks upper management sits in the ivory tower and brings the hammer or thor down when something goes wrong. This usually goes hand-in-hand with managers who haven’t been in the field for long periods of time or there’s a lack of communication from the field to management.

Your boss doesn’t care about your personal or professional goals, wants and needs. Too often in today’s business climate companies are trying to get more out of less and streamline processes. When this happens, it becomes more about the company than the individuals trying to make the company exist. Today’s culture is the “what have you done for me lately.” Ineffective management don’t relate to their subordinates and gather what drives them to excel at their job.

Your boss is too focused on themselves. “I need you to do this for me because it would help me out.” Ever have a manager that consistently asks you to do something so they can hit “their goals/incentives” but has very little interest in helping when it’s something you need?

Not Acknowledging Success. One of the hardest things a manager has problems doing is acknowledging the short term success. By default their job is to look at the long term future while dealing with multiple employee issues. Having joy in your job and feeling valued are some of the main reasons good employees stay with a company. Poor manager’s don’t acknowledge the day to day activity.

Lack of Company Vision. Let’s face it, some companies are on the rise and some are on the decline. This usually happens a few months after a new regime takes control. Those individuals are trying to set “their vision toward future growth.” The pitfalls are that too often the vision doesn’t get reported to the individuals on the front lines correctly, or in most cases, not at all. Make sure your direct reports and your specific leadership know what the vision for the company is for the next quarter, six months and year.

Dangle the carrot. Most employees are excited for the opportunity of career growth within an organization. Some may be looking forward to their next adventure soon after being hired and understand through hard work and dedication will create job potential. There are certain managers who dangle this carrot with no intentions of actually making it within grasp just to continue to push out more work.

Manager Self Check List

A good manager’s sole job is to be a resource when you are needing one, a mentor to guide you in the right direction and someone to build you up within your company. Too many times managers try to take the credit for their direct reports success and easily throw them under the bus when things go south. Effective managers earn trust quickly, become strong team players and prepare an employee for success. Managers who continually get the most out of their employees recognize them for their hard work and dedication. Let’s look at questions you can ask yourself (or maybe have a real conversation with your direct reports) to see if you’ve been an effective leader:

  1. What have you done to uplift your team recently to make work life enjoyable for them?
  2. Understand the vision of the company, your team and more importantly your direct reports role in the team.
  3. What non-budgetary ways can we show appreciation for their work?
  4. Do you recognize them for their accomplishments?
  5. Get to know your reports personal lives while still maintaining a level of separation. Just as you have your employees take notes about customers, take notes about your employees lives.
  6. How do you handle employees who are struggling?
  7. Take a vested interest in your team. It’s cheaper to train up your employees than hire new ones.
  8. Spend time out in the field with your direct reports. Give positive coaching feedback and strategize a Plan of Action (POA) for their scenario and worst case scenarios.
  9. Learn when and when not to dangle the carrot.


Employee Checklist

If you are working with an ineffective manager at the moment and would like some advice, here is a simple self-checklist to ask yourself to get to a conclusion.

  1. Understand How does it affect you? Do you feel like you can’t get work accomplished without the conflict resolved? Is it constantly on your mind or is it simply a nuisance?
  2. Are you resisting the change? Are you the only one feeling this way? Is it a new manager trying to change the culture of a under-performing group?  Is your manager rocking the boat for a specific reason? Is “the way we’ve always done it” no longer working and there might be a method to their madness?
  3. Do you include your manager in the thought making process? In your everyday work life, do you include your manager in strategy sessions, career growth goals, select personal goals, tell them what motivates you. A manager can’t manage without knowing what drives their employees and what turns them off.
  4. Can you bring up your frustration to your boss in a professional manner with an open mind? Is your relationship on thin ice? Does your manager ruly have an “open door policy?” Does your manager take criticism or “opportunities for improvement” well?
  5. Can you act professional in your frustration/situation? Does it consume your time and make work unbearable? Are you sharing too much information with others that may bring down team morale?
  6. Do you have a mentor within/outside the organization? Every person should have a mentor. Someone that is successful has a positive outlook on life. Someone that believes in you and is willing to help you, motivate you and honestly critique you? Someone that can strategize your difficult situations with that is directly outside of your situation?
  7. Look for work elsewhere. Is the grass greener on the other side? Is your issue with your ineffective leader so strong where you’d prefer working for a different organization and the unknown problems that go with it?
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