Top 5 traits of poor management

Not everybody can be a manager. It takes patience, emotional intelligence and project management skills to name a few. Many people see management positions as something to strive for. It is a position of authority and one that people look up to. However, it takes more than just knowledge and the need to “climb the ladder” to be a manager.

Being a manager isn’t as simple as delegation and telling people what to do. There are a lot of leadership skills involved that if not executed correctly can cause a negative domino effect across an organisation. So before you embark on a management role, here are some negative traits of poor management to ensure you don’t carry out.

The Top Traits Of Poor Management


As a manager, there will be times that you too will underperform or make a mistake. It’s important to show leadership, even at a time where you might feel like you’ve dropped the ball or let others down.

Owning your mistakes is an important way to show others to do the same. It will gain the respect of your colleagues and demonstrate that everyone is accountable for their actions.

A negative trait of a manager is to blame others in the team for their mistakes. Whether it is to save face or their ego, when you throw a person that you manage “under the bus” this can create a chain reaction of distrust amongst all those you manage. Everyone will be thinking that they could be next. Individuals will be defensive in their dealings with you, which can really impact a project where teamwork is critical.

Changing position descriptions

Sometimes we all need to do something that isn’t in our job description. Whether it’s taking over someone’s duties whilst they are on leave or taking on extra tasks during a big project, part of being in a team is picking up the extra load from time to time.

Most employees who feel valued and appreciated by their managers would be happy to do extra tasks not normally part of their role on occasion. They understand it’s all part of the big picture. When this becomes bad management is when a manager pushes tasks onto someone permanently that is outside of their specific title.

Employees are in a specific position for a reason. This could be because it’s part of their career journey in that field, they really love what they do or because they want to up skill in the area. When forced to almost sabotage their own career goals cause a manager makes them take on duties they don’t think will fulfill their needs, this can cause good employees to quit and look elsewhere.

No focus

A core part of being a manager is leadership, and a big part of leadership is staying focused and guiding everyone to a common outcome. Each individual will be busy on driving the day-to-day activities and it’s up to the manager to ensure this is all done in a streamlined process.

When a manager jumps form project to project, gets sidetracked or forgets to approve important documents, this can lead to those in the team to feel like they are just spinning their wheels. Everyone likes his or her work to feel valued and to see an outcome. If managers make their staff feel like they are just working for the sake of working, this can impact morale. When the next “priority project” arrives on employees’ desks, they won’t be so keen to put in the effort.

Poor communication skills

Many managers don’t realise they may have poor communication skills. This isn’t just about being able to verbally communicate and articulate your point, but it also includes not understanding that everyone communicates differently.

As a manager, one of your tasks is to get the most productivity out of your team. In order to do this, managers need to understand that everyone has their own preferred way of communicating. Some people like to communicate via email, others prefer phone and some like face-to-face communication. When you understand the listening, learning and communication preferences of each individual, you will be heard a lot more and individuals will feel more motivated to get on with the job at hand.

Not understanding priorities

All good employees want to be able to help their organisation or department be the best it can be. They want their company to grow, so they too can grow with it. A key part of growth is focusing on priorities.

When a manager decides to focus on something that won’t produce the results that are needed to meet the objectives of the company, this can frustrate those in their team. If a manager continues to do this, this can lead to staff feeling insecure about their position and they may see that the company as a “sinking ship”. When staff don’t have the authority to get the ship back on course, they will jump ship and go somewhere else.

To be a manager is more than just being good with numbers or delegation. It’s about understanding that how you communicate, what you prioritise and how you treat others has a ripple effect and can cause good employees to leave.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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