There might not be any research to back this, but I’m sure that 100% of people have had a horrible experience with a boss or manager.
I remember my first job, way back when I worked at a local restaurant. I had a boss who basically told me (a teenager at the time) that I wasn’t going to amount to anything, simply because I accidentally lined up the curry sauces the wrong way. Seriously, why would anyone talk to a young’n this way?
Well, after all these years, and now entering my second year as a cofounder of a Web platform, I still haven’t been able to figure out the phenomena that occurs when a person with power thinks they have the right to abuse others and not treat them with respect. Then again, I’ve always been a fond believer of functions over titles, so my point of viewed might be slightly skewed and may not be in line with what old-fashioned Corporate America thinks.
I’m here to tell you that your manager doesn’t define your career. Your hard work and abilities are what define you as a professional. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
So when you catch a manager taking advantage of you or your work by doing any of the the following, consider calling them out or taking your talents elsewhere. And, if you’re a manager yourself, avoid these behaviors at all costs:
1. Discouraging Employees
I think this one is probably the easiest to point out.
For some reason, a lot of managers think that discouraging employees is a great motivational tool that will make them better employees who work optimally. This may include:
- Belittling employees
- Constantly proving that they’re right
- Calling out someone for a small detail
- Making examples out of employees
Who the hell came up with this style of leadership?
Managers are meant to help guide the direction of a department and lead it to success. It would be wise to motivate employees by encouraging and teaching. The best thing a manager can do for an employee is listen and use different ideas from different people to obtain better results for the company.
Remember, employees (especially new ones) bring a different opinion and a new way of thinking to your organization, and the beauty of an office setting is having different people from diverse backgrounds collaborate and create.
2. Failing to Recognize Employees
I personally feel that employee recognition is one of the most important aspects of a company.
I know it’s a managers job to delegate work, but part of the job is also to give employees recognition for a job well done. There’s absolutely nothing worse in this world than not receiving the appropriate recognition, especially after working extremely hard on something that might not even benefit you.
There’s a famous quote (attributed to Mary Kay Ash) that goes a little something like this: “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.” And although a lot of us won’t admit it, it’s probably accurate.
People love to be praised and recognized — hell, it’s even alluded to in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Although sex and employment hold more power in his hierarchy than “respect by others” and “sense of achievements,” so maybe the aforementioned quote is false, or maybe it’s a matter of perspective … I’ll let you decide.
3. Forcing Company Culture Instead of Letting It Grow Organically
I’ve had the displeasure of working for a manager who tried to force-feed the mission and values of the company to us. I guess for a while I believed, because of this, that this is what work was going to be like for the rest of my life.
Now, I’m not knocking on any company’s values or anything. I think it’s great for a manager to promote a company’s missions to employees regularly, but there’s a right and wrong way to go about it. And having to force employees to behave a certain way is not cool at all.
I think the one thing that’s too often forgotten is that every office under a company’s umbrella is absolutely different from one another. If you’re a huge company and have offices all over the world, I’m sure you’ll find there’s a difference between an office in the States and an office in Asia. Even if you’re a small local pizza chain, you’ll see that there’s a difference between the way things are run in two stores across town.
What I’m trying to get at is that a company’s culture should be grown organically and not forced by someone who has a managerial position. A company’s mission should only be used as a way of clearly understanding the goals of the company and as a guideline of sorts as to how it will be achieved.
The people who make up a company — regardless of position, geographic location, department, etc. — determine the company’s or office’s culture, not the manager.
4. Chastising Employees for Failure
There’s a “fail fast” ideology that exists within the world of tech startups.
To sum it up, it’s basically the act of quickly confirming if an assumption works. If it doesn’t work, it gets scrapped. If it works, you keep it and keep on building on top of it. Simple as that. This is a lovely way of thinking, and it saves a lot of time and effort for a lot of people.
But this is not the case for the majority of companies. Management usually tries to prolong a bad decision or idea, while chastising and blaming employees for failure. The worst thing a manager can do is fire an employee over a failure. I hate hearing about a new initiative being launched and someone getting chewed out or fired because it’s not working.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If a company isn’t succeeding in a certain aspect, it means something is wrong and change is needed — management included.
A lot of ideas don’t work, but that shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to knock an employee down … especially if it was their idea. Great managers accept failure and learn from mistakes, and with that, they’re able to obtain better results in the future.
5. Not Knowing Jack About Team Building
I don’t think it’s natural for people to be stuffed in an office for hours, day in and day out, only to work.
One of the most important things a manager can do is have an office that people can come together and enjoy themselves in. It can be as simple as having team building activities that will create a better office environment or just keeping a lax environment where people can be themselves.
Team building is truly an art form. Management has to find a way to bring a diverse group of people together and achieve greatness. I hope that didn’t come off too corny, but it’s true. The only way a person will be able to excel as an individual is if they grow with their colleagues, learn from them, succeed and fail with them, and create a great experience with them.
A shitty manager discourages collaboration and social interactions, whereas great managers know the true value of having an office team that can easily communicate with each other.
Do you have any horror stories about a shitty manager? Let’s hear them!