Ineffective Management Styles to Avoid

Whether you’ve been in management for years or are breaking into management for the first time, it’s important to know what to do, just as much as what not to do. Oftentimes, a person enters their first position in management with a strong desire to make an impact in the company and become an effective leader. Unfortunately, over time managers and supervisors can lose sight of their initial goals and become ineffective, leading to a high turnover rate and an overall feeling of passivity within the workplace.

If you are not formally trained in management and have recently been promoted then, chances are, your management style will be a reflection of the managers you had previously worked for or dealt with. While most people go into a management position with the best of intentions, they may become ineffectual in leading their team.

The good news is that accepting the need for improvement and seeking out ways to better your management style is a good way to create change and begin on the right path of becoming a successful leader. Knowing what not to do is sometimes as effectual as knowing what to do as a leader and allows you to troubleshoot your own techniques and improve your management styles. Even if you employ some of these tactics, it’s important to realize that change is possible.

Saying you’ll do something and fail to follow through

When a manager is supposed to complete a task or says they will do something and then dismisses the action, they are creating a workplace of distrust. The result of this failure to follow through with actions leads the employees to not believe in their manager. If you are guilty of this habit as a manager, make less promises to the employees that you are going to do something if it’s not possible or unlikely. Instead of making empty promises, that will lead to feelings of distrust, think about what you’ll actually be able to accomplish or create a system where you are able to easily access the list of tasks you promised to complete and be sure to complete them. If you’re unable to fulfill a promise to an employee, address this mistake and make time to follow through with it.

Being Invasive

It’s great to care about your employees and want to know more about them, however, it’s important not to cross the lines and be nosy. Invading the privacy of your employees means pressing for details about their personal life, rather than strictly keeping it professional. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know your employees, but this type of management style can lead to the worker being uncomfortable around you and want to keep you at bay as much as possible. You should also never reveal any information they might have told you to another employee. It’s best to keep your relationship professional, be open to anything they want to entrust in you, and keep it between you and the employee only.

Vocalizing your discontent with the employee in front of everyone else

When the time comes for you to discipline your employee for their work ethic, tardiness, or performance, it should never be done anywhere but behind closed doors. Workers that are scolded for their work behavior in the presence of their fellow employees feel alienated and are even less likely to care about making improvements in their work. Managers that employ this habit rarely feel in control of the situation and want to establish their dominance as the leader, but this style is ineffective and shows insecurity. Always pull aside the employee that needs direction or discipline to a private space.

Shying away from discipline

The opposite of the previous habit is the inability to discipline employees when it is absolutely necessary. Whether this avoidance of direction to employees is due to shiftlessness or fear of conflict, every manager has to approach and deal with an unruly worker timely and decisively. Avoiding discipline leads employees to keep being ineffective and not change their behavior for the better. Additionally, when the rest of the team sees another employee essentially getting away with not performing their best, they will undoubtedly begin to resent the manager for not acting on bad behavior and are likely to begin being negligent on their own work.

Not providing positive feedback when applicable

There is nothing wrong with commending an employee for their hard work and dedication. The idea that positive reinforcement is not needed in the workplace is absolutely not true. Even the best employees should be applauded for good work whenever appropriate so that they know their work is appreciated and feel like a valuable member of the company. Failing to provide this positive feedback results in the employees feeling disenchanted about their positions and they ultimately can lose their motivation to work hard and do well. Affirming that your employees are doing a great job can increase productivity and improve the overall atmosphere in the workplace.

Being a Know-It-All

You didn’t get your position for sitting on the back-burner and not knowing your business, but it’s an important lesson to learn that you may not be the best resource when it comes to certain areas of the company. Everyone in your company shares certain strengths and weaknesses, and it’s imperative that you, as a manager, listen to different viewpoints and perspectives when it comes time to make decisions about the workplace. This attitude also lends a hand to being a micromanager, excessively supervising employees and controlling their day-to-day tasks instead of allowing the employee to come up with their own system.

Originally published at on January 13, 2017.