Health

10 MORE Habits of Highly Toxic Managers

Here is Part 2 from my daughter, Bri Riggio!

My original list of highly toxic manager habits received such an outpouring of feedback, it was clear that the list needed to be expanded. Based on stories and comments generated from that first post, here are 10 more habits of highly toxic managers.

1.   Reject Feedback from Subordinates

Good managers are able to take both positive and negative feedback from their subordinates in stride and can distinguish personal complaints from constructive criticism. Great managers take constructive criticism and find ways to implement it. Toxic managers, however, reject their employees’ feedback, simultaneously missing out on opportunities to make positive changes to their team and signaling to employees that their opinions and good ideas don’t matter – even if they are the ones who are put on the front lines to do the organization’s work.

 

2.  Solicit Group Input… Then Ignore It

This is similar to the above, but with a different twist – in this scenario, the toxic manager explicitly asks for input from the group, giving colleagues the impression that they have a say in a decision and that their feedback is wanted… and then the toxic manager ignores that feedback. When employees see that their advice was not considered or even flat-out ignored, morale takes a hit. As this behavior becomes habitual, employees grow angry as they realize that these solicitations are just lip-service and their manager is ​​wasting their time with pointless requests.

3.  Force All Communication to Go Through You

While managers may request to be looped in on important discussions, toxic managers require subordinates to copy them on every email they send, whether they need to be included in the conversation or not. A hallmark trait of micromanagers, this behavior signals to employees that they aren’t trusted, which erodes self-efficacy as employees realize they are always being watched. Toxic managers also demand that any messages going up the chain of command or out to external partners be filtered through them first, creating a bottleneck of communication and opening up the possibility for an employee’s message to get censored or incorrectly filtered by the toxic “middleman.”

4.  Delegate All of Your Job Duties to Others

Deciding if, when, how, and to whom to delegate tasks is one of the most challenging parts of being a manager. Toxic managers solve this problem the easy way and simply delegate all of their job duties and responsibilities to others, freeing up their own time to pursue non-work-related activities or to pick and choose only the tasks that interest them or help to advance their own image. Employees become saddled with additional work and grow stressed trying to manage their own workload and that of their manager. Resentment soon begins to fester as employees start to ask one another, “What does our manager actually do all day?”

5.  Make Your Team Revolve Around You (Your Schedule, Style, Personality, Etc.)

At a certain level, team members will always have to adapt how they work in relation to the person that they work for – the trope of “managing up” exists for a reason! Toxic managers, however, force their subordinates to revolve completely around what works for them. At best, employees experience mild irritation having to adjust their schedules and work styles to match that of their manager and become less efficient in their own work. At worst, employees are forced to jump through hoops to accommodate last-minute requests, meet absurd goals based on the whims of their superior, or change key aspects of how they think and work in order to “fit in” with the manager’s expectations. Both cases lead to employee burnout, albeit one faster than the other.

6.  Don’t Follow Through

Toxic managers may talk a good talk, but when forced to “walk the walk,” the toxic manager falls flat. At first, employees may hold off on moving forward on a project while they wait for their toxic manager (who promised to do his or her part in the project) to move, meaning they have to carry the burden when the toxic manager doesn’t follow through. Employees may excuse this failure once or twice, but as it becomes apparent that the toxic manager’s word isn’t worth anything, employees learn not to rely on their manager for support or direction. Consequently, employees start to “do their own thing,” which results in them prioritizing the wrong goals, duplicating their efforts, or just giving up and not following through themselves.

7.  Focus Only On Your Own Success

Despite being responsible for other people, toxic managers care only about their own needs, wants, and successes. In fact, some may actively exploit the success of their subordinates to improve their own image within the organization, claiming the success of an employee or team as their own. When team members aren’t recognized for their contributions, feel like someone else is taking the credit for the work, or don’t feel that their skills and talents are being well-utilized, they become less motivated to perform, and either stop caring altogether or become motivated to find a new employer who will recognize and appreciate what they can bring to the table.

8.  Neglect New Hires

Many toxic managers assume that new hires will be willing and able to take whatever the organization wants to throw their way while they “prove” themselves. Other toxic managers simply do not set the time aside to properly onboard their new employees and instead force subordinates to train their new colleague. However it plays out, the lack of support that toxic managers offer their new hires creates stressful transition periods for everyone involved, decreasing team morale and productivity. In extreme cases, such behavior may lead to even more turnover, as new employees become quickly disillusioned with the organization and put in their two weeks after only a short time on the job.

9.  Take Your (Most Loyal) Employees for Granted

Once employees are past the onboarding stage, toxic managers continue to wreak havoc by adopting the viewpoint that staff members are expendable, replaceable, and automatically loyal to the organization. As a result, toxic managers tend to overwork and overstretch their employees, leading to stress and burnout. Team members who are most loyal to or most entrenched in the organization often bear the brunt of the labor, as the toxic manager believes (often incorrectly) that those employees will stand by the organization no matter what. Ultimately, when employee health and opportunities for professional development are ignored, talented employees begin to leave, and the toxic manager fails to understand the financial or psychological stress that such behavior inflicts on those left behind.

10.  Don’t Empathize

Some people are incapable of empathizing with others, while others just don’t want to. No matter the reason, not empathizing with colleagues, subordinates, clients, and others is one of the most harmful habits that a toxic manager adopts. Toxic managers fail to put themselves in the shoes of those they work with, and as such are always handicapped by their inability to understand what truly motivates their employees and allows them to do their best work. As a result, a toxic manager creates a work environment that is tailored not to the needs of the organization, team, or client, but rather to the needs of the toxic manager.

Even with these additional 10 habits, I’m sure everyone has experienced toxic manager behaviors beyond these. What other ones did I miss? We might need another list!

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn: ​https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-more-habits-highly-toxic-managers-bri-riggio


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