Five Worst No-No’s
Monday, August 11th, 2008
  • comments (9)

5. Micromanage
If you’ve done your homework and hired the right people, there should be no need to micromanage them. Give them direction, set challenging but realistic goals and keep them well motivated. By telling employees exactly what to do you destroy any motivation they might have to think for themselves and make valuable contributions.

4. Fail to Follow Through
Setting directions and providing goals are primary tools of a great leader, but if you don’t follow through, employees quickly learn to ignore what you have to say. Provide a few simple clearly communicated directions and then return to the subject within a reasonable period of time. Employees will quickly learn that you mean what you say.

3. Don’t Keep Secrets
Be as open and honest as possible with your employees. Poor leaders often use secrecy as a way to wield power. However, the less employees know the less able they are to act effectively. In addition, secrecy creates resentment and fosters gossip within the ranks. Google maintains an intranet that has information on all company strategies and current projects. The risk of secrets leaking out is less than productivity gained be everyone working together.

2. Play Favorites
Employees need an even playing field. They need to feel that if they work hard and excel at what they do they will be able to rise up in the ranks. Too often family ties or friendships bias leaders. Employees begin to spend more time and thought currying favor. Both those being favored and those out of favor will be less motivated to work hard. And remember, a perception of favoritism is almost as bad as favoritism itself.

1. Deceive Employees
One small lie can have profound effects within an organization. Once employees believe a leader is willing to lie, they have no basis to distinguish fact from fiction. And it often doesn’t matter who the lie is directed towards. Often leaders will lie to clients or authorities and keep employees as co-conspirators. But if leaders are willing to lie to clients, employees realize these same leaders are probably willing to lie to them in other circumstances.

  • s.whalen

    i have a manager who has all of the above qualities,surrounds himself with schyophantsand brownnosers with a bit of bigotry thrown in for good measure.////????

  • michael omalley

    Dear S. Whalen,

    Learn what you can while you are there, and move on. If the manager truly has all of these deficits, they won’t be fixed during your career lifetime.

  • bob behling

    would like personal coaching on people skills. Any advice on where to go?

  • Kevin

    I’ve known two life coaches, but both had vastly different approaches. I think the first step for you is to determine what you want to get from a coach and then decide how you want to engage.

    If you don’t mind telephone sessions, you can find one online. Otherwise you need to look locally.

  • jamie

    i work for a family owned company. the child of the owners doesn’t seem to follow the “rules” like everyone. do i turn a blind eye and get over it or is there something i can do?


    I only wish more people as managers mostly including my previous work place managers would have been more educated in their performance/work skills and be in tune with how much they do effect the company overall. Game playing or whatever skill managers feel is justified because they are the boss and that’s the way it is additude kills the spirit of the employees and is a great loss for the company overall.

  • Lainie

    I worked for someone who ran her business by all the no-no’s. It was demoralizing to work for someone who devalued her employees and associates. Her elitist attitude will come to harm her in the end. I am glad I got out.

  • Alex

    I work for a multination where the excutive management practices all of the above to extremes. My boss is nothing but a schoolyard bully who indulges in both socially and professionally unacceptable behavior – racist, misogynistic and just plain hateful. I am in middle management and find it near impossible to motivate and lead the people directly reporting to me when executive management leads by such bad example. I really enjoyed watching ‘Leading with Kindness’ on PBS – knowing that there are good companies out there is the only thing that keeps me going. I just keep praying for the economy to get better so I can get the hell out of my current situation.

  • Pete

    I’ve worked for the same company now for 32 years. working for the father has always been a joy, but his two sons are so far away from his leadership qualities that you might think they were adopted. We had a great crew for many years, but as the father grew older I started to see good people leave for the simple fact they felt that the sons would never be good leaders. I wish I could say that they were just as good and my friends were wrong. I was wrong and they were so right in their assessments that it’s almost scary. The two sons manage two different stores. One is going bankrupt and the one where I work is getting close. This one particular boss has the managing skills of Ghengis Khan. He screams at people when they don’t always agree with him. He would turn so red that the joke around the shop was that one day his head would explode. He swears out loud in his office with the door open and we have a woman working up front. Even our customers have heard him swearing. He has no regard for anyone but himself. including customers. Because of this attitude he is dragging a once successful business down the tubes. Many of us that work there have tried to tell him about how bad his attitude really is,b ut he just sluffs it off as if we don’t know what the heck we were talking about. I could go down a list of his mistakes and failures, but I’m afraid that could take a week or so. I might even come out with some stuff that no one else has ever thought about.

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