Management villains can inspire you to be a better leader if you do not repeat their failures.
Like Penguin in Batman Returns, there are shady managers with villain masterminds. They are skilled at promoting themselves and weaponized with arguments to prove they are right and you are wrong.
You do not want to work with them.
But you have to work with them. Is it that bad?
What if you could choose how you feel about them and replace your frustration with understanding? You can learn a lot from terrible managers. It is an opportunity for you to make it better when you can.
Do not miss that chance.
1. Bad managers hear but don’t listen
You sit down for your weekly catch-up and talk about your projects. Your manager is looking out of the window and doodling. “Good.” “OK.” He’s nodding. “Interesting, but let’s talk about it another time.” He disregards your suggestions. “You are doing fine, see you next week.” He leaves the meeting.
If there is one epic fail that poor managers have in common, it is that they cannot listen.
If you fail to listen, your team will not take you seriously.
People want to be heard and listened to. How annoying is it for you when you talk, and other people do not pay attention to you?
It is frustrating, disappointing, disrespectful, and sad.
Think for a moment about your own listening skills. Do you listen to other people? Do you try to understand them? Communication is a two-way problem. Stop complaining about anything if you do not listen.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. — Bryant H. McGill
Don’t follow the example of your leaders. Be better and listen.
2. Bad managers have bad excuses
“Sorry, but your promotion can’t be processed now. We are waiting for the approval from the global team.” “Sorry, I can’t give you the pay rise as it would not be fair for the rest of the team.” “Sorry, you have to work although you are ill as I don’t have anyone else to cover your work.” “Sorry, I know it’s already October, and we promised to let you by the end of the month if your contract is renewed, but we still don’t know.”
Have you ever felt that your manager has bad excuses? I bet you did. Bad managers are villains as they are not completely honest nor interested in doing good for you.
I have heard a lot of excuses from my previous bosses. You’ll notice that some managers have faulty excuses when you filter positives from negatives. Some prefer to blame other people to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
Use your common sense. Before you say any rubbish, imagine someone saying that to you.
Be true to your conscience. It is better to say things as they are. They are often not magical or secret. They can, but bad managers are responsible for making things move.
If they don’t, well, guess what, they are a problem.
3. Bad managers don't take an action on time
Successful managers do things right. They can predict and plan. While villains always miss the bus.
What makes them unreliable is the fact that they always miss it. They don’t learn from their past mistakes.
Bad managers are always surprised when potential risk becomes reality.
It shows one thing — bad managers don’t understand the business and don’t plan well enough. They follow the flow and deal with a problem as it arises. A management style like this does not prevent problems. They let them happen.
How annoying is that? You see the storm coming, but you don’t take an umbrella. Stupid!
The most significant thing it can teach you is to be smarter than your leader. Create scenarios and be one step ahead. If you have the same speed, you do not have to chase your goals.
The future calls for those who are ready. Are you?
4. Bad managers are not loyal
I had a manager who liked to talk about people behind their backs. Imagine this. We were at an evening dinner, and the manager mentioned that one of the members could not attend. He was inappropriate, pointing out all her mistakes. It made me feel guilty.
Regardless of your position, you should show respect and have proper manners.
Bad managers are not loyal to the management group. Neither to their teams. They think sometimes about how stupid people are. No wonder why their teams do not take them seriously.
Give respect and get respect. Not everyone is going to be your cup of tea, but still, as Sir Elton Joan says, give them a break.
I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. But sometimes criticism can be hurtful. Be respectful. I’m a good piano player. I can sing well. I write good songs. If you don’t like it, fair enough. But give me a break. — Elton John
Authentic leaders do not make hurtful fun of other people. They support diversity and differences. The world would be really boring if everyone was the same.
If Penguin in Batman Returns decided to be a hero for diversity, he would bring a lot of good to the Gotham world.
5. Bad managers have no vision
You listen to your manager’s presentation of goals for this year. They are not aspiring. What is most troubling, they are not even clear.
You need direction. How else are you supposed to work? The purpose is to increase motivation at work
If there is no purpose, your leadership most likely does not have any vision.
Bad managers tend to forget that people work not only because of money but because they have talents, interests, and motivation to work. For that, you need a clear and actionable vision.
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. — Warren Bennis
Knowing what and how is critical before any work starts. Inspire first, execute later.
Many visions are abstract. Stop pretending you know when you don’t. Better to translate it into reality and make it relatable to your team. It gives the sense of purpose that incompetent managers overlook. That is a real shame.
Last epic thought
It is annoying to work with a terrible manager. No doubts about it. Yet, take it as an opportunity to study what is going wrong and learn from it.
What can you do better?
How would you deal with such a situation?
What kind of manager do you aspire to be?
It is always easier to judge than to be in the same position. So, even when you work with a bad manager, be empathetic and try to see the other side of the coin. At the end of the day, I believe you will become a better leader.
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