5 “Bad Boss” Behaviors to Avoid as a New Manager

a giant hand holds a team of five business people

Good managers have good “people smarts.”

Your success as a manager, especially a new manager, will depend more on your soft skills than your hard skills. If you want to succeed as a new manager, you need to ask yourself, am I people smart?

There are so many well-documented ways to be a “bad” boss. You can demand too much of your team, you can be stubborn and unswerving in your opinions, you can make decisions impulsively, you can interrupt and disrespect others in meetings, and you can be overly self-oriented. Bosses like these are real and, unfortunately, they are out there. New Manager Training Experts have compared bad bosses with these traits to toddlers who wield too much power.

What are these bad bosses lacking? The maturity, confidence and empathy to show and use good people skills. They need to develop their emotional intelligence—the ability to manage emotions in times of stress in order to stay calm and in control.

As a new manager, what can you do to start off on the right foot with your team? For starters, you can beware of the 5 ways you might be considered a bad boss.

1. Micromanaging
Give your employees some space. If you have set clear performance expectations and your employees understand and accept them, then don’t hover. Let them take care of how they work as long as the results—and the cultural way the results get accomplished—are what you need. Let them take care of the details. You only need to intervene if the work is late, substandard or accomplished in a manner that is in conflict with your corporate values.

2. Managing through power
Yes, you have the new manager title, but it does not entitle you to become a dictator or to intimidate your employees to get results at all costs. Be sure that it is not your ego that makes the decisions but a fair-minded assessment of the pros and cons. It is all too easy as a new manager to think that you need to wield power to be successful. Instead, you need to support your team and to encourage their cooperation in achieving team goals.

3. Managing as a friend
Everyone (well almost everyone) wants to be liked to some degree. But your role as a new manager is not to become everyone’s friend. It is to earn their respect as a leader who, with spirit and understanding, can marshal people to cooperate and commit as a team to agreed-upon goals. Sure, you could (and should) have fun together, but your relationship does need not extend deep into personal friendship. Maintain appropriate friendliness within the professional setting. You are not competing in a popularity contest. It is your job to set you and your team up for success.

4. Managing strictly by the numbers
As a manager, you will most likely be held responsible for hitting specific corporate, team and individual targets. But remember that it is your people who will get you there. Never forget that “the numbers” never tell the whole story. Just like a professional athlete integral to a team’s success who does not show up in the box score, you need to look beyond the data to figure out what’s going wrong or right. Get to know your team members on an individual basis so you can have the conversations and trust that will allow you to support them as needed. You should understand what motivates each one. Then the numbers become a helpful data point and not the only measure of a team member’s contribution.

5. Managing by crisis
Hold regular one-on-one and group sessions with your team so you can monitor progress toward team goals and handle issues as they arise. Don’t let yourself be surprised by negative results and do not let things fester. You should work alongside your team so you are aware of difficulties and problems before they become too big to handle. Your approach should be to work toward solutions not put out fires.

To manage well, rely more upon your skills as a thoughtful, caring leader than a boss who issues orders.

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