The 9 Worst Ways to Manage People

Bad Managers Exhibit All 9 of These Employee Numbing Behaviors

Man with a bullhorn hollering at coworkers represents one of the nine worst ways to manage people.
••• JGI/Jamie Gri/Blend Images/Getty Images

If you've ever had a bad boss and everyone has had a bad boss at some time or another—you've seen some pretty awful management behavior from the bad boss at that point in your career.

But, do their actions qualify as the worst way in which to manage people? Maybe, maybe not. Here are the nine worst ways to manage people. See how many you've experienced.

Pit People Against Each Other

This is not referencing a sales contest to encourage high performance. This is referring to playing favorites, gossiping, telling one person one thing and telling another a completely different thing.

It makes your employees hate each other and fight for your praise. It may make you feel good in the moment, but it's destructive for the long haul. And, eventually, your employees will hate you.

Micromanage Independent Workers

Not every employee can work on their own, but many, if not most, can. When you micromanage someone who is capable of working independently, you not only don't get quality work out of the employee, you destroy their morale.

All of those qualities that convinced you to hire that person? Not put to good use when you double check their every action and require them to cc you on every email.

Implement Super Strict Rules

All departments need rules, but you can really go overboard. Examples of going overboard include limiting the number of bathroom breaks, monitoring internet usage, blocking almost every website you think employees will waste their time using, and telling people to get back to work if you so much as hear a, "How was your weekend?“

Rules like this can sometimes seem necessary, but it's not good management. If you start to feel like you need to manage to this extent, you either need to fire everyone and start over, or you need to fire yourself and replace yourself with someone who can get results without monitoring the bathrooms.

A better option is to directly address the behavior of the few employees for whom you feel that you need these rules. You can do this without needing to make one of these radical choices. But, that takes courage.

Publicly Humiliate Your Employees

When an employee makes a mistake, make sure that you chew him out in front of everyone. Don't pull the employee aside and ask what happened and coach him so that he doesn't make the same mistake. Just yell and tell him that he's stupid. The end result of this type of behavior? Employees who hate and fear you and perform at a low level.

Never Hand Out Praise or Thanks

Your employees get a paycheck, that's all the thanks they need, right? Many bad managers go with this philosophy. Why praise what you're paying your employees to do? If you believe this, you’re in for a surprise when you find out how much more you could be getting from employees.

Stay in Your Office

While the micromanager is too involved in what her employees do, there's an equally bad type of manager who doesn't bother to come out of her office. This type of manager often thinks she's too important to bother with the little things.

She's in high-level meetings, schmoozing with executives, or maybe she's just spending her time surfing the internet. Whatever the reason, this type of manager lets her group flounder on their own.

Don't Allow Any Flexibility

A day off? Sorry, you didn't request it six months ago, so no. Your kid is sick? Even though your whole job is on the computer, you can't work from home.

You want to take a class to improve your skills, which will then benefit the business? Not if it requires that you leave at 4:45 on Tuesday. These managers aren't interested in letting you have a life outside of work.

Growth? Not a Chance

This type of manager hires people to do a job, and by golly, they better do just that job for the rest of their lives. There's not an opportunity for development. No cross-training. No chance for a promotion. Just do your work and shut up. The best employees with the most skills, and the youngest employees, the millennials and Gen-Z currently entering your workforce, leave for better opportunities.

Reward Butt-in-Seat Time

This manager looks around and declares that Bob is the best employee he's got because Bob shows up every morning at 7:30 and stays until 6:00. Kevin, on the other hand, is a slacker because he doesn't come in until 8:00 and he leaves at 5:00.

Never mind that Kevin has twice the productivity of Bob. Never mind that Kevin's clients rate him highly, and Bob's clients would prefer to work with Kevin. Bob works a lot of hours, and that's what this type of manager likes and rewards.

Do you recognize any of these managers in your past or present? Have you ever been this type of manager? If you can't think of a different way to get results from employees, find a mentor and learn a new and better way of managing.