One third of American workers want to leave their jobs right now. Incidentally, one third of American workers also say that their bosses make them feel unmotivated and underappreciated. A bad boss can ruin the best job, and the demotivation caused by working for one of these people is directly damaging to the success of any business.
Most of us have had to, at one point, worked under a bad manager. Sometimes it seems like they’re genuinely malicious, but more often they’re just terrible at their job. What we don’t really think about is what our managers think about themselves.
Realistically, most of us would probably blame our failures on extenuating circumstances. How can we tell if we’re the problem, rather than a victim of circumstance? The answer is communication. Here are the two biggest communication issues that I’ve come across that signal a bad manager.
You Don’t Think Your Job is About Your People
As a manager your main job isn’t accomplishing client goals, it’s facilitating your team’s success. Your team is handling the client related work, you’re the mechanic that keeps the machine running smoothly. The thing is, that machine is made of people, and managing people requires emotional intelligence. That means knowing individual people, understanding how they work together, and being able to tell when one of them is having a problem. It means having the necessary empathy to understand the needs and wants of the people under you, and going out of your way to make sure that they feel valued, and that they are able to progress toward their own individual goals.
You Don’t Know What’s Going On
Knowing what’s going on with the projects that you’re working with is essential to doing your job, and, as a manager, it’s tempting to blame your team when you don’t know the answer to a client’s question about their project. Unfortunately, this is usually a management issue. Either the team doesn’t have the proper procedures in place, they don’t feel comfortable communicating with you, or the existing procedures are too inefficient, forcing them to choose between doing work and keeping you informed.
Fixing The Problem
There are a lot of different ways to address management problems, and a lot of larger businesses have built-in management training to help you become a better boss. Besides those there are numerous online communities like the American Management Association dedicated to helping you develop your leadership skills, and a lot of high-level universities are starting to offer online degrees that range from general business, to highly specific management jobs like political Management. You may be that manager, but you don’t need to remain that manager.
Samantha Stauf has spent the last two weeks working with wet behind the ears managers. She’s found they improve with a little experience and training. You can find her on Twitter at @samstauf.