April 2013
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TD Magazine

Five Signs of a Bad Manager

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don’t ignore your self-awareness blind spots.

Among the components of good management skills, self-awareness gets far less attention than it deserves. Beyond serving as a natural brake for emotional outbursts or antisocial behavior, self-awareness is a fundamental building block of effective communication.

Below are five cues indicating a lack of self-awareness, as well as steps to take to remedy the situation.

Your perspective is the most important. You primarily believe your point of view to be the most critical, and rarely consider the perspectives of your team members. Instead, when you have an important decision to make, purposely seek and consider your team members' opinions before moving forward.

"Motivation" by criticism. Thinking it will motivate, you use criticism destructively rather than constructively. The next time you feel the urge to tell an employee what he's doing wrong, try to recall when you last pointed out something he was doing right. Likewise, take opportunities to praise members of your team.

Zero pushback on your ideas. You bully direct reports into going along with your ideas by being antagonistic or negative, so they don't feel free to challenge you. Counter this by actively seeking feedback from team members on your ideas. And when that feedback happens to be negative, resist the temptation to argue.


You're doing everything. Shouldering all of the responsibility indicates that you tend to overdo and micromanage, lacking delegation skills. Give your employees opportunities that allow them to grow by stepping into areas of less experience. Be supportive by turning their inevitable mistakes into learning opportunities.

People don't really know you at work. You keep your distance and show little of your authentic, personal self. Your hands-off approach is actually a lack of engagement—when people need you to be a present partner offering specific contributions during critical decisions, you're out of sight. Make an effort to be a part of your team. Roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches with your employees.

About the Author

Sarita Bhakuni is a consultant for CPP, the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment.

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