Managers From Hell: a corporate tale

What’s the deal with managers? Why are so many managers beyond fucking awful at leading and inspiring and supporting their teams? And what happens to an organization — and a team — when Godzilla is allowed to take the reins?

A bad manager takes a good staff and destroys it, causing the best employees to head for the hills and the rest of them to lose all motivation.

That’s the bottom line.

Want to destroy — and we mean destroy — your business? Your brand? Then be sure to tolerate poor management. Build a culture of fear (more like terror, as we’ve observed it) and set yourself on the path to, first, mediocrity and then obsolescence.

Managers should be appointed on the basis of skill rather than as some sort of natural career path (“You’ve sold 50,000 widgets this year so now you’re in charge of the whole sales team!”). And managers should be appointed on a full-time basis. You can’t manage people while continuing to head up product development efforts or servicing a roster of clients.

Management is a job, not a title and an as-and-when-you-have-the-time hobby.

Being a manager takes skill. And determination. Managers need to be able to clearly articulate the company mission. They need to live it. No point in talking about how the brand is all about respect and then failing to show much of it — or any — to your colleagues and staff.

Hey, guess what? If you tend towards sociopathy in the bullying department, you have no right being a manager. You will suck.

Managers need to be team-focused. Their job is to manage — motivate, steer, guide, support — the team as a whole. Not just the favorites.

If a manager is only concerned with his or her own career or retirement or pension, well, that person is going to suck as a manager. And the team is going to underperform. The good people will leave. The rest will sit and snipe and bitch and maybe even cry.

Finally, managers need to take the heat. When something goes wrong — and it does, dammit! It DOES! — the manager needs to step up and say, Okay, this happened on my watch.

And then he or she needs to say, “I’m here, team. I am here to support you. We’re all going to row in the same direction and get through this. We’re going to be wiser for it. We are going to learn from mistakes, not pay through the nose for them.”

Managers look for solutions, not scapegoats.

What kind of manager are you? How might you be a better champion for your team and therefore for your brand? If you’re a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being Manager of the Friggin’ Universe, how might you improve your rating? And if you’re a 10 already, you Jedi Master of All That You Do, well, how might you Use Your Force and bring it in at a 20?

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Photo by Kevin Dooley via Flickr.

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