Following up from Monday’s post on 5 Corporate Culture Woes, I was laughing at the very obvious and silly ways that management gives you a hint that you should run like it’s the plague. Departments, companies, business units — any such situation when a manager or management as a whole acts in the following ways is simply the universe telling you that you have GOT TO GET OUT.
5 Signs That Management Sucks
1. It has always been done this way.
Traditions. Traditions. Traditions. Oh, and… new things are evil. Sound familiar? Yep. This is the first sign that management sucks. Not that traditions are bad. However, dogmatic adherence to the past is a great way of management telling you they are not in any way interested in preparing for the future through action. Sure. They may say all sorts of things indicating they want to prepare for the changing times. But, really, what they are doing is avoiding it — hiding their heads in the sand, hoping the wave will just wash over with no changes, ever. This is a classical sign that if you are of the personality who needs improvement, needs excellence, and needs opportunity to thrive, it is a good time to plan a strategic exit.
2. If it’s not my idea, I’ll steal it later.
If it’s not management’s idea, it’s a bad idea. Until they bring it up later, named and credited as their own idea! This is an old school tactics to pacify and demoralize upstarts who obviously have way more talent, way more popular support, and far more ability than the incumbent manager. What typically happens is movers and shakers start to gain momentum with their own business unit and other departments. Soon after, they gain negative attention from managers (or senior staff) who see them as a threat. Their next big idea is completely shut down, ridiculed as immaturity and nativity demonstrating an obvious lack of experience. What is really happening is this — the idea is sheer brilliance and has scared the crap out of incumbents. About a year later (or soon after you quit), management will broach the topic, “revised” and “improved” as their own idea. Shocker.
3. Promote those who follow the company line.
It’s all about those who follow blindly, right? That’s what management wants, isn’t it? Well, screw that. If such is the case, it is time to leave. Yes…. this type of management expresses themselves this way because they don’t really know how to manage. Moreover, they don’t have the foggiest idea what it means to be a leader. Therefore, they basically terrorize, marginalize, and demonize anyone who doesn’t follow their company line. True leaders and those with raw talent are told off and ostracized as one thing or another; simply unacceptable and unwelcome for the only reason that they disagree or fail to openly comply with whoever is “in charge.” If you have any inkling of ambition or hopes to find your way into a leadership position, this is a manager you want to get far and away from because they will do everything they can to shut you out.
4. Underpaying talent, tolerating mediocrity.
This style of management is practically the existential bane of millennials and gen-xer’s — who by the way are going to be >70% of the workforce by 2020. So, this is definitely something managers should be caring about. Managers who are content to pay people because they stick around and underpay those who haven’t been around are going to be in for a rude awakening come the next few years. Their thought is that by playing the game of patience, they will win out and keep their position while talent simply shuffles through. The fact is, talent will shuffle OUT and move into better pasture where their skills and abilities to perform are appreciated. In little time, the market expose those who are underpaying talent and overpaying those who under-perform. Moreover, these companies will fail big time in terms of keeping up with their value propositions to the general consumer. Quickly, talent will become the new bosses of those who couldn’t hack it. After all, what goes around comes around… except this time, only good things will come to those who are excellent.
5. Do as I say, not as I do… Because! I’m above the rules.
This type of manager makes my blood boil. And, it should be only a matter of weeks or months before you move on. This type of manager has made it their career to fly under the radar, make minimum HR requirements to their job, and to outlast anyone else who comes along the way. These managers tend to be in the same job for seeming decades long, with no ambition to move up nor any obvious force to relieve them of their obviously delinquent duty. It is fair to say that this manager is actually quite skilled at what they do. However, if you are looking to move up and find success on a bigger playing field, this manager will only keep you down. They do not lead by example and are more than willing to tell you to do something, have you take the fall and full blame for their poor advice. They also break all sorts of rules, but have some how found ways to circumvent punishment, correction, or coaching. It’s a mystery. Either way, the only method of ousting this type of boss is by becoming their boss years later… if you’re into that sort of thing… you know, retribution. Personally, I think it’s a professional waste of time. Just get out, move on, and become more than they could ever dream. That, is revenge enough.
The truth is this: There will always be good managers and bad ones. However, if you are currently in a job or are looking around the job market, keep your eyes peeled for these huge red flags. If you are in a job and all this sounds too familiar, it may be time to get out. If you are on the job hunt and you sense these attributes within management, run… run fast… run far… avoid it like it is the plague.