How to spot a weak manager


It is a sad truth that at some point in your working life, you will encounter a poor manager.

Corporate politics being what it is, people who are not at all suited to managerial roles are nevertheless appointed to these positions for one or other reason.

Nepotism, while frowned upon, remains all too rife in today’s business world. Employees who have given their all are time and time again overlooked for senior positions in favour of those who have family or other connections to the decision-maker.

While there are exceptional cases, where connected superiors do prove to be incredibly effective, among staff there will always be an overriding sense that this person simply should not be there.

Nepotism aside, the appointment of toxic managers can also simply be a case of poor judgment on the part of the company owner. During the interview process, they might have been “taken in” by the prospective manager’s charms, or be led to believe that the applicant might be the solution to all their problems.

Staff, unfortunately, have to be bear the brunt of the decision to hire or promote such people.  In their minds, managers should be extremely competent and able to command respect naturally. If they are saddled with someone who does not share any of the responsibility but wants all the glory, odds are that they will shoulder all the burden yet consistently feel undervalued.

Employees can tell if a manager is weak by looking out for any or all of the following signs:

  • Berate employees in public forums

Demeaning others in public is an attempt on the part of the manager to make themselves look superior. Usually it is because they incorrectly assume that such action will instill fear into employees, and they will get the desired results. However, in almost all cases this approach backfires. Instead, both bosses and subordinates view the manager as unstable, suffering from acute esteem issues.

  • Commitment without consultation

Everyone likes to look good in front of their bosses and clients, but there at least has to be some evidence as to why praise is deserved. Talking the talk is one thing, but it needs to be remembered that there is still a lot of work to done. Managers who promise the earth without consulting those responsible for the manufacture of the actual product will soon find themselves a new set of enemies. In addition, to clients they will be seen as people who have no follow-through.

  • Directionless

Many companies invest of lot of time and effort in leadership skills training but some managers still choose to ignore what they learnt, believing their approach is better.

This can be chaotic for everyone involved. A random mess of ideas leaves everyone feeling confused, and a manager’s indecision or last-minute change of mind can wreak havoc on deadlines and targets. Eventually, a situation develops where a strong, respected employee takes charge and become the “manager” in everything but name (and pay grade). This leads to further resentment of the appointed superior.