Top 5 things that bad managers love to say

by 28 Oct 2011

Whether you’re a ‘big deal’ at work, the little guy, or a HR leader who manages the whole show, chances are you’ve had both good and bad superiors.

There’s no confusion about what ‘good’ managers say, and having a kind word here and there can really take the punch out of a bad week.

“Let me know if you’ve got too much on your plate”, “You’ve been working like a dog - why don’t you head off a bit early on Friday?”, or “How can I help you out”, would be music to your ears every once in a while.

If you’ve got a ‘bad’ manager, you’ll be waiting a long time. Helpful, encouraging, and trust-based words and phrases don’t usually occur to them.

For your enjoyment, HC gathered together some of the most notorious, bad-manager sayings. Do any of them sound like something a manager in your company might say (or might have said this week)?

If you don’t want this job, there are plenty of other people who do.
Good leaders give people flexibility, and make them feel value and respected. Bad managers, on the other hand, love to remind employees that it’s all about the dollar transaction: “You work for me.”

Who gave you permission to do that?
People who obsess about hierarchy and permission and grade levels are people that can be pariahs in the workplace, and that often leads to feeling powerless through a lack of control.

Drop everything and do this first!
Any manager can have a last-minute emergency that pushes everything else out of the way. Good managers pull this move sparingly and only in real crises. Poor managers do it every day, and they never remember the dozen equally critical (at one point in time) priorities they’ve already told you to drop everything else for.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.
While good managers realise that your life doesn’t stop when you walk through the door, bad managers seem to think it does. Having flexible work arrangements can often be the difference between being productivity and presenteeism.

I have some feedback for you … and many others feel the same way.
Reasonable managers give their employees feedback when it’s warranted, and try to emphasize and reinforce achievements. Bad managers aren’t positive and instead ladle on criticism, and the really bad ones add an extra twist of passing along anonymous jabs. True leaders will talk about conflict and performance issues in regular staff meetings or written updates, resolving problems as they arise.


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