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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

13 Top Habits of How NOT to Manage

There is always plenty of advise about how to do things. How to bind a tie, how to lose weight, well even how to get pregnant. Also I described a few ideas recently, for example, how to improve your communication, how to motivate children, and how to fail.

Well, sometimes it's more helpful to see how NOT to do things (as described by Scott Berkun in has essay Creative Thinking Hacks, section "Inversion"), in order to come up with a clearer picture how to address things properly.

For instance, you might think about how not to do business. Part of doing business is also managing a business. Perfect examples of how NOT to manage can be seen in the great TV series The Office (UK), and it's US and German adoptions.

"I'm similar to God. He's not that visible all the time either, yet has a good image". Source: (translation mine)

Thus, I kept an open eye about what annoys me about bosses, what I hear others complain about, what I hear leaders and managers consider wrong (or they consider good, and I added it to this list nevertheless) ... I think in pretty much everybody's daily routine there are plenty of opportunities to witness something similar.

So, my Top 13 Habits of How NOT to Manage list is as follows (not in order):

  1. Leave your subordinates in permanent uncertainty, about future projects, their position, their task
  2. Threat them as resources, and ignore their personality and feelings
  3. Just talk about yourself in a showing-off way all the time
  4. Only contact them when something is wrong, but never praise them
  5. Disturb them all the time when you have nothing else to do (preferably in order to talk about yourself in a showing-off way)
  6. Strictly follow a Theory X approach of motivation 
  7. Don't respond to their requests on time
  8. If you do, by all means avoid a clear message, but rather use some cloudy (also relates to the "uncertainty" mentioned above)
  9. Express yourself in a super arrogant, self-praising means in general
  10. In case of immediate threat of one of your dear fellows leaving your company, simply suggest a raise in payment instead of asking for the underlying reasons for her dissatisfaction
  11. Break your promises
  12. Closely observe whatever they are doing, on a very frequent basis (that is, micro manage them)
  13. Give unclear instructions
If you are in a managing or coordinating position yourself, do your colleagues the favor and think for a minute or two whether you might be guilty for some of the aforementioned. It does not mind that doing the opposite makes you a good manager right away, but it will definitely contribute to some improvement.

I'm sure I forget something, and there are several others absolute don'ts for managers ... so please let me know, which ones are you aware of? What annoys you most about your bosses or colleagues?

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