Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Making of a Horrible Manager

If you’re ever in a position of power and want to ensure that everyone on your team loses respect for you, simply follow these six easy steps:

1. Refuse to actually “manage.”

I know, I know. This one probably comes as a shocker to some – I mean, you would assume that when you accepted the role of “manager,” someone, somewhere, probably expected you to actually “manage.” Never mind all that… after all, the whole thrill of being a manager is the kick-ass title, pay raise, and bigger desk, right? Right. The fastest way to break down a team's perspective of you is to outright reject your responsibilities, particulary the most important. Does the concept of not managing sound a little crazy to you? Not as crazy as it’ll seem to your team when you fail to function as they foresaw. Fail to lead your team, and, over time, they will fail to follow.

2. When possible, answer all questions with ambiguity

An especially effective move with new hires, this step actually takes some sophistication to sustain. In short, every time an employee asks a question, give them a round-about answer, talk through it – largely to yourself – with no distinct conclusion, or, if you really want to knock their socks off, simply answer: “that’s just the way it is.” (As an aside, if the opportunity ever presents itself, don’t overlook the infinitely detrimental effect of simply laughing in response to an intelligent or insightful inquiry.)

3. Embody double standards.

If you really want to break down rapport with your employees, foster a double standard for all seemingly insignificant things – the pettier, the better – within your reach. If at all possible, try to target certain individuals in this quest.

Imagine, for example, telling a single employee that it’s inappropriate to wear the color green to work. Weird, maybe… but really no biggie, right? Maybe not at first… after all, they’ve got a closet full of other colors, and green’s not that great anyway. But now imagine the effect if, on the following week, your entire team – short the singled-out soul – is sporting the said “unsuitable” shade. And imagine their confusion when everybody remains blissfully unaware of the consequence of the color – except, of course, for them.

Moves like these are priceless.
And, while on that note...

4. Play favorites. Then give in to gossip.
We all know that you already have pet employees. Just make it really, uncomfortably, blatantly apparent - especially to those outside of the chosen few. Let them have a little too much say in decisions that are just a little too big - major points for letting a single team member decide how a peer will fare in a performance review or whether they'll even be around come next year. There's nothing like a little subjectivism to disrupt a team's morale.

5. Don’t follow through on promises

This one really goes without explanation, because it’s so stupidly simple. Tell your team you’ll do something, and then fail to actually do it. While this can be effective with small statements, they’ll take longer to accomplish your task. To really get a group galled, do it with big, important promises.

6. …Especially those promises you made in direct response to their concerns

To really make your charade worthwhile, focus on failing to follow-through on the promises you make in the moments when colleagues have made themselves vulnerable. Whether or not you realize the amount of effort and nerve it takes for employees to approach you to communicate their well-constructed concerns is largely irrelevant; all you need to do is receive this message with what they perceive as sincerity, and subsequently leave them hanging. Do this just once or twice and you’ll forever sabotage your standing in seniority.

So, there you have it: six easy steps to guide you in the making of a horrible manager!
Embody enough of these, and you’ll forever undermine your credibility as a captain.

Happy Inadequacy! Enjoy your sabotage of an entire team’s career satisfaction!

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