A personal observation: Visitors to this portal are very welcome. However, it’s a sad commentary on management when an advice article, How To Deal With An Oppressive Employer, ranks among the most popular month after month.

Certainly, not all readers are wrong about their boss. Their desire to read about how to deal with a bad boss reflects a trend.

Though not a scientific study, my sense is that there’s a shocking upsurge in awful managers. Management is the most-requested topics on this portal.

Bad bosses share seven common traits:

1. They aren’t trained for the job — they have bosses who apparently assume on-the-job training suffices for managers.

It’s hard to believe executives fail to train employees before promoting them into management, despite the necessity to learn all the required skills.

At the minimum before being promoted, the people need insights for accountability — managing employees, projects and profit and loss statements.

2. They don’t have a role model.

People are often promoted to management even though they’re not qualified. They probably have demonstrated skills — but their skills are unrelated to managing people.

This is a classic example of the Peter Principle. That’s when people rise to their level of incompetence. The late University of Southern California professor and author Laurence J. Peter coined the phrase.

In essence he said people are promoted to get them out of the way of high-performing workers. When, actually, they should be demoted to their level of competence.

They’ve never had a good role model in their managers. Nor have they made the best career investment: Finding a good mentor to help them learn how to empower their employees, encourage collaboration or to improve their departments.

Show me a man who is a good loser and I’ll show you a man who is playing golf with his boss.

-James Patrick Murray

3. They don’t know the difference — management or dictatorship.

Clearly, they consider the term, boss, too literally. There’s a difference between leading a staff effectively and authoritarian behavior. Bad bosses love to hoard power, prominently display their authority, and demand blind obedience.

They don’t understand narcissism — arrogance and intolerant behavior takes a major toll in the workplace.

4. They’re poor communicators.

Poor communication results in managerial dysfunction, but a bad manager doesn’t see the correlation.

That’s why such managers aren’t gracious, good listeners, develop trust or enhance collaboration.

5. They don’t control their emotions.

It’s never OK to display anger. Good managers control their emotions. Instead of reacting to bad news or behavior, it’s better to respond.

That’s means having a greater self awareness — identifying their feelings, understanding the root causes of their fear which often manifests itself in anger, and thinking about what to say or do instead of lashing out.

6. Their unhappy with their jobs.

They hate their careers. They’re struggling. They’re so miserable they don’t take stock of their situations and how to reason things out — what to do about their quagmire.

They don’t have objectivity in perspective. They’re too busy being miserable. They don’t understand misery is optional.

7. They’re obsessive about politics and people-pleasing their bosses.

Rather than focusing on what’s important — the welfare of their employees and organization — they worry about the wrong things.

It’s a good trait to be politically savvy, but it’s another matter when a manager is obsessive about getting noticed, browbeating employees or getting a raise.

Once a person becomes a manager, it’s vital to focus on personal and professional growth by learning and leading.

From the Coach’s Corner, related articles:

How New Managers Can Win as Great Communicators — Poor communication results in managerial dysfunction and vice versa. That often happens because a significant number of workers is mistakenly promoted into management.

Executives Succeed by Avoiding 7 Missteps — Why do some executives fail and others succeed? Successful executives have a purpose. They learn from their mistakes and those of others. They strive to learn good judgment, stay focused and pursue their objectives with abandon. Conversely, ineffective executives fail with seven possible missteps.

Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement — While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth. It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues.

The 5 Reasons Why Managers Are Promoted into Leadership — In selecting candidates for leadership, the risks can be great for both the company and managers in lost time, effort and money. So when deciding which of their corporate managers should be promoted into a leadership positions, naturally, companies don’t want any surprises. Among the distinguishing traits, companies prefer to promote managers who demonstrate certain abilities.

20 Tell-Tale Signs You’re Underperforming as a Manager — Managers can often struggle whether they’re new or experienced. Poor management, of course, leads to poor performance. As red flags, underperforming managers share one of two common traits with ineffective employees. Such managers aren’t fully aware of their shortcomings. Even if they are aware of deficiencies, they’re afraid to admit it.

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

-John D. Rockefeller


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.