7 Signs That You Suck at Being a Manager


There are a lot of supervisors and managers in various fields and industries who were at some point or another, great individual contributors, and then were promoted into a supervisory or managerial position (and expected to lead others to accomplish those same great results).

The reality of these types of internal promotions, is that organizations don’t necessarily promote the right people (at the right time) to fill critical leadership roles. I’m sure we’ve all had that type of supervisor or manager at some point, and I’d be willing to bet that some of my past direct reports probably thought the same thing of me at one point.

Here are some tell-tell signs that you suck at being a manager:

  1. Your employees have HR on speed dial. HR is not a complaint’s hotline – the fact that you can’t deal with issues at your level or are the cause of (continuous) employee grief is an issue in and of itself.
  2. Your employees call out more often than those of other managers. You suck so bad at being a supervisor/manager that your employees would rather just not deal with you at all – YOU are a drain on employee productivity.
  3. Your turnover rate is so high, you have recruiting’s number saved as one of your favorites on your phone. If your recruiter was smart, they’d keep an active pipeline of candidates ready for you to burn through.
  4. You don’t trust your employees to be able to accomplish simple tasks. I sh*t you not, I once had a manager tell me that she does her employee’s work because she didn’t trust her employee to be able to accomplish it – there were so many issues wrong with this scenario!
  5. Your employees don’t trust you enough to come to you with their issues (whether business or personal). We all have times when we need to reach out for help (i.e. work on a project, scheduling, etc.). How much of a sh*tty person are you, that your employees would rather not approach you when they’re in need of a helping hand?
  6. You’re the primary cause of office drama. Either through your actions (or inactions for that matter), you’ve failed to achieve the most important task of your job – a productive work team.
  7. You don’t know the basics of the work your employees accomplish. My favorite is seeing a “leader” direct their employee’s, but doesn’t know the job and has no interest in learning so that he/she can better guide their team.

This list can go on for a while…trust me, I’ve seen and dealt with enough terrible bosses to know that this list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

I’ve said this before…if you’re a terrible boss…you should probably quit, however; most terrible bosses either don’t realize how terrible they are or do and don’t care. So your organization will continue to suffer until they finally decide to get rid of you. If you’re a “bad” boss who knows it and wants to change…you’re probably a good boss who’s just a little rough around the edges. If you commit yourself to some serious change (i.e. communication style, knowledge gain, interpersonal skills, etc.), you, your employees, and your organization will benefit from it in the long run. Be forewarned, true positive change in one’s leadership outlook/style doesn’t happen overnight. So be prepared to stick with it for a while – don’t get discouraged…you’ll get there.

Lastly, if you’re an employee with a sh*tty boss, do yourself a favor and find a better one. Look for a boss who will work to develop your talents and skills, who is a team player, and who challenges you in a positive way (FYI…pre-employment interviews are a great place to “interview” your new boss as well). I’ve probably only had two really good bosses throughout my professional career – although they may come few and far between – good bosses are out there.

Categories: Leadership


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