3 Signs You’re an Ineffective Manager, and What to Do About It

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Have you ever had a manager whom you feared or disliked? If so, you understand the misery of working under an ineffective manager. More than likely, this person was lacking in characteristics and skills he or she needed to properly communicate with, train, empower, and lead you. As a result, you, your coworkers, and your company suffered.

3 Signs You’re an Ineffective Manager

Perhaps you’ve never experienced a manager like the one described above, but you are one. If this is the case, you probably are already aware of it and may even feel powerless to turn things around. Or, maybe you are an ineffective manager who is clueless about his or her situation. Here are 3 signs that you are not the manager you have the potential to be:

1. You primarily give and enforce instructions

Without a doubt, being in a management position involves giving and enforcing instructions. However, if that is the bulk of what you do at work, you don’t have the correct idea of who a manager should be. In his article What Does a Manager Do?, Jon H. Reh wrote, “Much like everything else in our era of change, the role of manager is evolving. What used to be predominantly a supervisory and over-the-shoulder type role, monitoring the work of others, is now a blend of leader, coach, strategist, project leader, team developer, and even team member.” Do you lead, coach, strategize with, develop, and work alongside your employees? If not, you have room for improvement.

2. You don’t really care about your employees

Do you care about your employees? Only you know the honest answer to this question. If you don’t, you may not be cut out for a management position. Supervisors don’t need to be overly empathetic, but they definitely should care about and enjoy people.

3. You are inconsistent

A great manager is one who is consistent. For example, after setting a team goal, he or she does not usually stop mid-stream to alter the direction of a project. John Vaughan was correct when he said, “Some leaders set a direction but then continuously chop and change course. The trouble with this is that it creates a feeling that you don’t know what you are doing, and it is frustrating.”

If you exhibit one or more of these signs of poor management skills, you can learn to manage your employees in more effective ways.

The Secret to Becoming a Better Manager

There are entire books written on the subject of becoming a great manager. It is a mammoth topic, but it boils down to one simple tip: focus on building relationships with your employees. Do this by recognizing their birthdays, asking them questions about themselves, discovering and helping them meet their long-term career goals, and allowing yourself to be a little more transparent with them. This doesn’t mean that you should become best friends with those you supervise; it means you earn their respect by maintaining appropriate distance while at the same time intentionally connecting with them. Do this and you may find that personal issues like inconsistency, lack of care for others, and bossiness evaporate.

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