I think all of us have that story!

​You know the one… with the terrible manager!

You know what I’m talking about…

The one who micromanages, doesn’t communicate properly and is waaaay too much in your business. It’s horrible!

Now that you’re in the position of leader, you’ve probably wondered yourself how you’re doing.

That’s why I’ve created this week’s video on MakTV where I’m sharing some of the biggest signs of a poor manager.

I’ll also be sharing what you can do to course correct if it turns out that you are making some of these mistakes yourself.


Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below. Before you dive in, don’t forget to download your FREE GUIDE: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Effective Team Leader here.


One of the signs of a bad manager particularly anyone that is in the customer experience, success, service area of things is the poor customer service. 

The service that you receive anywhere you go is usually just a reflection of the leader of that team. 

If the leader of that team is effective and has created an environment, process and systems for the team to provide good service, they will. 

But if the manager of that team is no good you will see that come out in the way that the employee treats their customer. 

Poor leadership practices always trickle out to the customer. 


While every business has a customer, not every department touches the external customer.  That being said, each department has a purpose for being and as a result their own set of metrics and key results that they should be fulfilling. 

A team that doesn’t get results or is getting inconsistent results is a sign of a bad manager.

The lack of results could be for a variety of reasons. It could be that the manager doesn’t know how to set and direct the more tactical side of performance like actual targets not being hit. 

Or it could be the less tangible but super important stuff like team building skills that the manager doesn’t have which also contributes to poor results. 

Whichever side of the coin it is, if a team is not working well together and they aren’t hitting targets both are a result of a bad manager. 

If your team isn’t performing well, if they are missing deadlines, and there’s constant conflict, lack of accountability and you haven’t been able to identify the problems and solve those problems then something is broken. 


A manager is responsible for creating a safe environment where people can try things, where they can bring up ideas and fail safely. 

But if there is any sort of intimidation  and fear in the environment people will just not go that extra mile to bring up their ideas or to do things more efficiently even when they see it. 

Actually I would argue that they actually can’t. 

You know if you have been following me for sometime you know I like to bring up how our brains and bodies work and how it plays out in the workplace.

If  you as a manager have created an environment through your words, actions and lack of people skills where team members feel unsafe – you are essentially triggering their fight or flight system. 

Instead of working hard, having their brains think creatively, their brain is busy trying to protect them instead.


I don’t know why but a lot of front line managers I talk to don’t know that it is their job to create and then lead based on vision. 

One of the top skills senior executives say that they wish managers would have is strategy. Strategy requires vision. But many managers don’t do this. Instead they are short sighted and do the work day to day rather than providing insight into goals and plans as to how to achieve those goals. 

If your team members cannot tell you why they do what they do, and how it ladders into the purpose, mission, vision of the company then chances are it’s because you haven’t done a vital part of your role which is creating vision. 

This is why my  Elevate Team Performance framework as part of the New Manager Accelerator consists of teaching you how to do exactly this. 

I teach my students a solid strategy that ladders in from the company. Unfortunately this isn’t stuff you just know you have to learn, but if you don’t take the time to learn it you will never have a team that loves their work or does their work well. It’s just not possible. 


Whether it’s inconsistency in the process and systems or inconsistency with the standards you hold for one employee to the next, if you are inconsistent at all in all that you do – then this is a sure fire sign of poor management. 

Good leaders are consistent. 

They know the purpose, they know the strategy, they know their principles and they hold the line on that rather than being pulled in by shiny objects, favoritism, or the flavor of the day. 


Finally the biggest lagging indicator of a bad manager is turnover. 

This usually happens down the road as some people will either tolerate a terrible manager because they like the work that they do, they haven’t found another position yet, or they just don’t know what else they would do. 

But usually when the skies clear and they have the opportunity to leave they will. Particularly the ones that are really good. 

They know their worth and value and they will not stick around to hang out with someone that hasn’t done the work of properly developing their leadership and management skills.