What Not To Do As A Manager


I think the vast majority of us could say that we have either worked under a manager or worked alongside one that should not have been put in a managerial position to begin with.

Maybe their job title and newfound authority has gotten to their head. Maybe they tear their team down instead of building them up. Maybe they simply lack the experience to truly provide their team with an adequate mentor.

If and when you find yourself in a similar role, make sure you take the time and energy to invest in yourself and your people. Do all that you can to be a great manager, not just mediocre or less.

All great, successful managers will tell you that their success did not come from just them alone. At one point or another they had a mentor that they looked up to. Those managers motivate their employees, instill confidence, build trust, offer constructive criticism, and hold those around them accountable.

If you want to be a manager that your employees and colleagues genuinely appreciate and admire, don’t do the following:

Criticize without offering any explanation

It is one thing to provide constructive criticism. It is another to criticize someone, especially a subordinate, without any explanation to follow. This tears that person down and makes the manager look arrogant and rude. Part of being a manager means that you are your teams mentor and coach. In order to provide that form of leadership successfully, you must be able to criticize, but tactfully.

Refuse to actually “work”

Not many things grind my gears more than a manager that refuses to work. I come from a background where if you have spare time in your day then maybe your FTE status is unjustified. To me, being a “manager” does not mean you are just a supervisor. You are a working manager that will lead, supervise, mentor and coach. You have to be able to be all of the things.


If you work for someone that does this, my best advice for you is to never participate in said conversations. You never know who is listening, it’s unprofessional, and quite frankly it is distasteful. If you don’t participate, hopefully you can be the example for your manager and team members to not do it themselves. When a manager gossips, he/she appears to be untrustworthy. Your employees will see this and avoid telling you things, which could harm morale and productivity. As a manager, you should always put yourself in a position to be approachable to properly care for your team. Gossiping hinders that ability and is best if avoided at all costs.

Lack of communication

I could write a book on this one. So many companies have culture issues these days due to mergers, acquisitions, dramatic growth, and the disconnect between generations. It is so important for there to be communication through and through. If your manager, and anyone above them, are not fluidly communicating, the entire company will suffer in some way, shape or form. Your entire culture could easily suffer as well. Make it a point as a manager to provide consistent, open communication. While some may argue this should go bottom-up, I wholeheartedly believe communication should be delivered top-down throughout an organization. Leading by example is so effective. When upper-management delivers fluid communication the rest of the organization will be impacted positively.

Shut the office door

Nothing makes you seem more unapproachable than literally shutting people out. When  your team feels like they are bothering you, you are diminishing any trust and hope for communication there may still be. Having an open door policy is highly advised of any manager.

Pick favorites

Treat all of your employees like they are each your favorite. You may get along with one or two employees more than the others, but just because your personality clashes with one over another does not mean any of them should be treated any differently. By acting as if you prefer one more than another you are risking your team having poor morale, leading to a decrease in productivity.

Accept position knowing there’s lack of experience & skill

It can be so incredibly tempting to accept a position of a higher level that also provides a salary increase. When you do this, you are setting the rest of your team up for failure since you wot be advanced enough to handle vita parts of the position. Not only that, but the whole company will in some way, shape or form be impacted by your lack of experience and skill. Avoid this by not even applying for roles that you aren’t truly ready for.

Blame others

This one drives me mad. A manager that blames everyone else but themselves when things go wrong might just be the absolute worst. If you’ve seen this or fell victim to it you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you accept a managerial role you are accepting responsibility for your teams success AND failures.

Allow their team to fail

This one goes hand-in-hand with above. There is a difference between you failing and your team failing. You will fail. It’ll happen. Your team though, they are looking to you to assist in them being successful. Make sure you are making your team a priority and ensuring their success over your own.

Act threatened of others success and talents

I don’t know about you, but I take a lot of pride in my success. I’ve worked very hard for it. The employees on your team promote your success though. Having employees who are talented and successful is a good thing. I wouldn’t care if the employees on my team had a higher salary than me if it meant we would collaborate well, be productive, excel at our own individual jobs, and all wind up WANTING to come to work each and every day. Worth it.

Take credit where credit is not due

Just opposite of blaming others is taking credit where it is not due. If someone on your team knocks it out of the park on a huge project or if an idea stems from a subordinate during a staff meeting, do NOT take credit for it. While this may seem obvious you wouldn’t believe how common this is. When you do this you are diminishing the trust and morale of your employees.

Act unethical or immoral

This should be a given, but here I am mentioning it because it happens anyway. This applies to all employees, not just managers. Acting unethical or immorally not only sets a bad example, but may or may not be illegal in some facet as well. You are a mentor to your team. Acting unethically or immorally is showing that it’s okay to do so and could have an end result of being detrimental to an organization.

Show a lack of appreciation

Above all else, APPRECIATE YOUR EMPLOYEES. It’s so simple, yet is so commonly lacked. You could be the most unskilled person on the team, but if you show your employees consistent and honest appreciation they will be willing to do so much more for the team. The golden rule applies: treat others as you would like to be treated. Whether it be bringing in donuts on a Friday, “Birthday Bagels” or just saying “Thank you!”… do it! The most simple actions can mean the most to an employee.

Did all of these seem obvious to you? I hope so!

Are you a manager that had to second guess whether or not you do some of the above? I hope not. BUT if you are – it’s okay! Spend some time focusing on how you can better serve your internal customers – your employees.

One thought on “What Not To Do As A Manager

  1. Spot on article. Thanks for sharing. My biggest takeaway is the lack of communication specifically around making it a point as a manager to provide consistent, open communication and being a servant leader. SO SO critical and often is not the case.


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