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Things that go bump in the night, monsters hiding under the bed and terrifying clowns called “It”: These are the things nightmares are made of. But for some employees, the scariest part of their day isn’t a movie; it’s dealing with bad managers.
Related: What Bad Managers, Good Managers and Great Managers Do
While no one sets out to be a bad manager, this scenario happens and all too often. In fact, one in two employees surveyed by Gallup in 2015 said they had left jobs to get away from a bad manager.
Since managers are the main sources for employee motivation, productivity, happiness and retention, one who’s a “nightmare” can wreak more damage than just unhappy employees. Even with today’s technology and resources, managers continue to make major mistakes — and that can hurt the bottom line at the same time it costs companies quality employees.
The solution? Be aware of the habits that could make your managers a nightmare, and don’t get tangled in that web to begin with.
Here are four examples of managers who haunt employees long after the workday has ended — and how to avoid becoming one:
1. The poor “people” person
A manager who doesn’t interact well with people sounds like an oxymoron, but these individuals exist. When someone who doesn’t work well with others is in charge of a team, the entire company dynamic becomes derailed.
One of the biggest things that suffers is free-flowing communication. OfficeVibe’s August State of Employee Engagement report found that 31 percent of employees polled wished their manager communicated with them more frequently.
Unfortunately, however, a manager categorized as a “poor people person” may actually be uncomfortable communicating and dealing with critical employee situations.
For some managers, this type of bad management style will be easy to avoid. However, others will have to overcome their natural tendencies to stray away from social situations. This means that leaders have to assess personality types and understand which people skills that certain managers lack may need improving.
The best place to get information is from your current team members. Because they may feel they’re being put into an awkward situation, you might offer an anonymous survey. Ask how frequently your employees would like to speak with management and in what format, and whether they feel management is opening up and communicating with them on the level they need.
2. The self-involved manager
Quality managers have a knack for motivating their entire team toward one end goal — the company’s mission. While this is accomplished by setting and pursuing personal and company goals, good team leaders know how to invoke passion from employees and help them succeed on every front.
Related: The 6 Most Familiar ‘Bad Boss’ Types and What to Do About Them
The self-involved manager, on the other hand, has no awareness of anyone’s goals but his or her own. This is why the incidence of managers taking credit for their team’s hard work and not empowering employees happens all too frequently.
Self-involved managers may seem successful due to their ability to hit goals and make the numbers move, but that’s all they’re interested in.
For managers who want to improve, a good place to focus on is the greater good of the company. In this regard, managers need to know exactly where employees stand with their individual goals, the nature of their personal missions and where they picture the company moving to.
Ignoring this kind of detail about employees may make managers seem self-involved, and employees will quickly lose trust in their leadership.
Sit down for weekly meetings or create an online chat room where managers and employees can come together. Make this a safe place for all to share their personal goals or discuss where they hope to see the company in a few years. Offer advice, step-by-step guides or continuing education courses to help employees reach their greatest potential.
3. The overly involved manager
This type of manager often wears a mask of popularity and is frequently involved in a small company or startup. “Overly involved” doesn’t simply refer to the micromanager who has to be in on every project, opinion and decision. Overly involved managers take things a step further and try to meddle in every aspect of their employees’ lives.
While it is important to care about team members as more than just employees, there is a fine line between being a caring manager and becoming a close friend. Going beyond that point can make employees uncomfortable and even make it difficult to manage them.
Employees, meanwhile, may appear to like this type of manager, but his or her inability to successfully lead and manage will eventually cause the team to feel stagnant.
Rather than focusing on getting employees to like them, managers should look at what boosts those employees’ productivity, motivation and passion. Knowing what makes them tick inside and outside of work will help bosses lead their teams to victory. Remember to keep things professional in order to maintain employees’ respect for management and the company.
4. The indecisive manager
These managers are infamous for being hard to please. From their perspective, they’re simply putting the company’s best foot forward and perfecting employees’ projects and tasks. But being unpredictable makes for a scary workplace situation. Employees are left feeling uneasy, apt to second-guess themselves and overly critical of co-workers.
Once indecisive managers become known for their lack of predictability, morale and creativity get thrown out the window. Employees need to feel safe in their working environment, especially with the person who is reviewing and assessing their final products.
So, loosen the reins a bit and have employees take control of their projects. When necessary, post guidelines in a shared drive, like Google Docs, to offer direction when employees need it, and don’t forget to always be available for questions.
Related: 5 Signs It’s Time to Fire a Company Manager
It’s okay to make small changes to these guidelines, but don’t jump in and change them too frequently. Let team members know they can always expect a supportive and guiding hand from management when needed.