Have you ever had a manager that was so bad you wanted to go into management as a way to block future people like him to be promoted into management? Well I have! Now don’t get me wrong. I have had a lot of great leaders in my career but this leader really stands out and impacted my career path.
My initial motivator to become a formal leader and manager came from one of my first managers; who was a horrible example of people-focused, performance-driven and coaching-centered leadership. While I recognized some good leadership qualities in him, I learned more from the things I felt he did wrong.
His first mistake was focusing only on the business. This was obvious because he never talked about anything but the business. He showed no interest in us personally or professionally. This caused the team to distrust him because we felt like he didn’t care about us.
The ironic thing is that while all he did was focus on the business, he was not performance-driven. He rarely spoke about our individual performance and he did not recognize or reward us for exceeding expectations. He had no process to achieve the lofty goals that he set for our team. He just told us to “get out there and get it done!”
He offered no coaching to help us improve. A day in the field or office with him was dreadful. When we were with customers, he just watched. He never contributed anything to the conversation. After the customer meeting, he only focused on the negative things that happened. He offered no help to coach and develop us so we could become more competent. We felt trapped and did not believe that we could grow and develop.
We had to be careful because if we shared ideas or thoughts with him, he took credit for them with his boss. He never acknowledged our contributions to the company or team. He was self-serving. He loved himself but we didn’t feel the same way about him.
If you were one of his favorites, you were golden. If you were not; and I was not, you could count on even less support and help from him. Of course those of us who were not his favorites, did not trust him. I often wondered how I could get on his favorite’s list. It was like a bad experience with Santa Claus where you wonder if you have been naughty or nice.
He was a great motivator. In fact he motivated me to get into management. I figured that if I became a leader, there would be one less leader who didn’t care about or appreciate people. As I look back on that difficult year under his management, I am grateful for the lessons that I learned. In fact I learned more from him about leadership do’s and don’ts than any other manager in my career. I learned that adverse experiences are growing experiences! I learned that you must experience the bad to appreciate the good. I decided to be a people-focused leader.
I would love to hear about the experiences you have had with your leaders. Please feel free to post a comment on this blog. If you would like more information about how we can help you become a better leader, please contact me via LinkedIn or my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.