6 Cringe-worthy Habits of a Bad Manager

Aamina Suleman Khan
3 min readAug 11, 2017

Many employees working in different organizations are victims of managers who can be easily classified as bullies or just plain bad. While such bad managers enjoy misusing their authority, poor souls (subordinates) can only talk about it unless they’re brave enough to retaliate and face the outcome (whatever it may be).

Over the years, I’ve heard horrifying stories that could collectively become a horror movie sequel. I listen to them and exclaim with a “what!” Here are the six habits of a bad manager, collected from first-hand sources.

Taking Sides

Something we didn’t like teachers doing at school was when they favored a particular student. It is the worst thing you can do as a manager to your subs. You may like one person more than others, but don’t make it too obvious. This usually ends up in jealousy, and often the consequences are torturous and murderous. Yes, very dramatic indeed.

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Often the “favorite” person isn’t even good at work, but they know how to butter the manager. If you’re addicted to such a sub, then stop right now. Look at others and acknowledge them as well.

Takeaway: Look at others. Acknowledge and appreciate them.

Army-like Surveillance

As a manager, it is necessary to monitor what goes on in your team. However, too much attraction with this task is injurious to health. In a digital era when you don’t necessarily have to be physically present in the room, the camera helps you keep a track of things. Nevertheless, you can’t act like a psycho lover, can you?

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Some managers are truly weird and scary when it comes to surveillance. They will look at subs like participants in an experiment. Keeping track of every breath they take, every time they sway their head, whenever they talk to someone next to them, when they and return from breaks. Oh yes, these are symptoms of a control freak.

Takeaway: Don’t cast your shadow on your subs, give them some freedom.

Your Idea is Mine Now

Sometimes managers feel threatened by their subs. Surprising? Not really. This has been talked about continually in leading e-Magazines like Forbes. While some employees are passive and hesitate to share their views and ideas, there are many who are up-front and like getting noticed for their work.

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However, beware! Some managers conquer ideas by their subs and win the game. That’s not cool. Not only does such management lower its reputation, but all this is also very cheap, to be honest.

Takeaway: Don’t steal ideas, it won’t do anything wondrous for you.

Child of Narcissus

Narcissus, the son of the God of River looked at his reflection in the water once and fell in love with it. From this derives the term Narcissism, which brings us to the phrase, “Me, Myself and I”. For such individuals, everything they say and do is an example of perfection. This is not a style, it’s a disease worth curing.

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While some heads of the team feel democracy is the best policy, others are autocratic and love to dictate. It didn’t do any good to a nation like Germany, and it will never do any good to an organization. Part of being a good manager is to become a guide or a mentor, but with an overly authoritative approach team members will only be disgusted.

Takeaway: Don’t self-praise yourself; appreciate others.

The Backbiting Creep

These venomous species can sting you, bite you and no doubt stab you in the back. They totally bitch about you in front of others just like a bunch of high-school gossipers, usually called the “materials” as seen in countless movies.

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Once in a while highlighting someone’s bad points for advice to make them better isn’t harmful, but criticizing someone to demean them is outrageous. If managers keep the sick attitude, things will come back at them! So be cautious because no one likes a back-biter.

Takeaway: Don’t back-bite.

‘I Don’t Like You’ Attitude

Discrimination happens in every organization, big or small. Subordinates are judged on the basis of their race, gender, or even health. Even in big-shot companies like Google, you see managers doing such injustice. For example, an Indian manager will play dirty with a Pakistani sub only because of the never-ending quarrel between the states.

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Sometimes this prejudice slides away unnoticed, and other times it becomes a piece of news. Sometimes the team member suffers big time, and other times the managers get the stick on hand. Either way, this attitude needs to go.

Takeaway: Don’t discriminate on the basis of anything unless it's on merit.

Dare to Share! What type of manager are you?