Management Skills

Five of the Worst Management Practices

Uncover five detrimental management practices to avoid. Enhance your leadership skills and create a positive work environment for your team's success.

In 2021, 57% of employees quit their jobs because they felt disrespected in the workplace (Pew Research Center). Employees often quit because of the manager, not the company.

Onboarding is expensive. The competition for talent is stiff. Retaining employees and keeping their performance levels high are vital to an organization's prosperity. A company can work hard to create positive values, a professional culture and have it all defeated by bad management practices. Employee moral is often more influenced by their direct managers than overall company policy.

One of the most dramatic ways of improving company culture, employee engagement and general productivity is to improve the way managers operate. They are directly handling a company's production areas. It's a lot easier to fine-tune managers who will then improve sections of the company as opposed to trying to address every individual in the company.

Here are a five common Bad Management Practices you can start isolating and rubbing out of your organization:

One – Excessively focusing on punitive actions

Punitive actions are necessary. Without them, managers and companies are wide open to being attacked. A lack of punitive actions results in low accountability.

But disciplinary actions are rarely what a manager should resort to when faced with production trouble. They should be looked at as a last resort when all else has failed. Most employees are trying to do a good job. When they don’t perform well it can be for a number of reasons. Maybe they didn’t understand the project? Did another employee they rely on drop the ball? Did the company fail to provide enough time and resources to complete the project?

If management immediately assumes the employee is rebellious and goes into punitive action two things happen: the real reason why the project failed may never be discovered and secondly, an employee who tried his best is now bitter.

Managers should recognize that employees are generally trying to do a good job. When there are production bugs, a friendly and inquisitive conversation to find out what the problems are can be more productive than punitive actions.

Two – Failing to set a good example

The best leaders lead by example. Managers should embody company values and cultures.

During on-boarding, new employees are like sponges. They absorb everything around them with a mixture of excitement and anxiety about the new work environment. They will look for cues from their peers to try and figure out what the work place do’s and don’ts are.

But even after being on-boarded, any employee has an opinion of the company he works for. Nothing colors this opinion more than employee interaction with a manager. Managers can directly influence employee engagement, attitude and emotions more directly and dramatically than most other actions.

If the manager is late to work sometimes...then the employee will think he can be late. If a manager is rude to his peers...then an employee will be rude. If a manager ignores company guidelines, employees will see this and follow suit.

This also works in reverse. Good managers make good employees. If a manager is sharp, productive and acts professional...then the employees around him will also manifest these traits.

Three – Micromanaging

I don’t think there is a single person in today’s workforce that hasn’t been micromanaged. Have you ever heard someone say they like it?

The answer is likely no.

A good manager should be able to any job he supervises better than those junior to him in the organization. That’s why he’s the manager. But standing over someone’s shoulder and watching them while they work is not only incredibly it extremely expensive.

Look at it this way. A company pays a manager to manage. It pays the employee to do a specific task. If the manager stands behind the employee and micromanages him as he works and sorta does the work through the employee, then the company is paying two people to do the same job while they annoy each other. Sound stupid? It is...and it happens all the time.

Being nervous and fearful are the worse traits a manager can have. Managers need to keep in mind that employees were hired for a reason. They have skillsets that’s the company values or they wouldn’t have been hired. They do need managing. But this usually means facilitating collaboration and providing resources, not forcing a stifling environment.

Four – Failing to provide feedback

When an employee finishes a project he expects feedback. No response is almost worse than a negative response. It creates mystery.

Employees can often be insecure. And even if they aren’t, they need feedback. When work is done, it is up to the manager to tell the employee how he did. The employee probably has some idea of the quality of his work, but he or she won’t be certain until the manager verifies it.

If a completed project gets no response all sorts of thoughts swirl around in the employees mind. If he does a good job...the manager should tell him! If he screws up...the manager should also tell him! This helps create a positive environment where a manager can encourage good work and also correct work that is faulty.

Five – Stealing the Spotlight

A manager issues direction to a team. The team work overtime, into the night and over the weekend to get it done. The project is a huge success. The manager takes all the glory, steps into the spotlight and fails to acknowledge the hard work.

A manager should give credit where credit is due. When he doesn’t, resentment bubbles up within his ranks and can culminate is mutiny or people quitting. Even if it never gets that dramatic, there will still be bad blood which will effect performance.

Instead, a manager should make it a point to thank employees for their hard work. Authentic praise to employees in front of their peers goes a long way to building a positive culture.


These are just five of the bad habits that can creep into the best managers. Try to rub them out of your organization and managing style.

The best way to become a good a manager is to think about how you would like to be managed. What makes you feel good? What sort of manager motivates you to be more efficient and put that extra little sweat into your work? If can you answer those questions then you can start to adopt those traits yourself and help those you manage reach higher levels of production and viability.

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