Search Our Site

We have 3,780,032 registered online learners.
721 new learners so far today.

How to tell if you’re a bad manager

schedule 23rd June 2017 by Emma Brook in Virtual College Last updated on 24th April 2018

How to tell if you're a bad manager

While your managerial techniques may be by the book, there could be ways you can improve. Here we take a look at signs that could mean your management needs altering.

Managers across all sectors have different techniques when it comes to organising their workloads and managing their staff. While some will pride themselves on the wellbeing and progression of their staff, others will focus more on results and delivery. And no specific way of managing is correct. It all depends on the industry, business, company culture and values, among other factors.

What is certain, however, is that a great leader usually requires a combination of good people management skills, compassion, strategic planning and vision. But they also must be open to feedback and every now and then reflect on whether their strategy is effective.

Although annual appraisals do help here, they are often more focused on employees, rather than the manager. So how can managers tell if they’re doing a good job or not? Here we look at a few signs that may point to you being a bad manager.

Pushing 121 meetings aside

As a manager, extra responsibility means more work and being super busy a lot of the time. Appraisals and 121 meetings with employees can often take a lot of time out of the schedule and are often pushed back, rearranged and sometimes forgotten about. However, doing so can be detrimental to your team as failing to meet up with employees regularly can lead to the escalation of minor issues, misinterpretation, and poor wellbeing.

Even just a ten minute 121 with workers will help them feel valued and appreciated, while also keeping up morale. It’s also important for managers to understand that the meeting should be a two-way conversation, where both parties listen to each other and discuss any issues.

Failing to enforce company culture

As a manager, it is your responsibility to enforce company culture. Of course, projects and day-to-day tasks are of immediate concern, but it is important for managers to encourage company culture and consider the overarching strategic aims of the company. Failing to remember core company values does not set a good example for the rest of your team.

To address this, you can help both yourself and your employees enforce company culture by providing refresher training that outlines these goals and values.

Being intimidating or unapproachable

No good manager should be intimidating or unapproachable. This type of behaviour is not constructive or helpful to any work environment. Nevertheless, sometimes managers can be doing this without being aware of it. Instead of having a ‘they work for me’ attitude, managers should work with their teams, rather than telling them what they should and should not be doing.

Managers who act in this way, run the risk of shutting down communication within the team as employees are afraid to ask questions or voice their opinions. Just listening and acknowledging hard work can go a long way in terms of team productivity.

Not providing constructive feedback

In order to improve, every professional - whether it be a board-level executive or a graduate employee - requires feedback. Failure to present workers with constructive criticism will just leave them feeling confused and unaware of how to correct their mistakes. In turn, career progression and personal development is stunted, which is detrimental for the business overall.

Be specific when providing feedback by telling workers exactly what it is that needs improving. Often, general feedback can be confusing and less effective.

Related resources

Emma Brook - Virtual College

Author: Emma Brook

Emma works in the marketing design team at Virtual College and works on a variety of print and digital design projects. In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs and the theatre.

ISO 9001:2015
Crown Commercial Service Supplier
LPI Accredited Learning Technologies Provider


+44 (0)1943 605 976

Virtual College

Marsel House


West Yorkshire

LS29 8DD

Awards for footer
Gold and silver award winners at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 - including gold for excellence in the design of learning content.


We are in the process of moving to one Virtual College website. If you want to go back to a course, or start a course, bought from our old website then you may need to login to our original learning management system. Otherwise, please proceed to our new learning management system to return to your training.


You are already logged in. Click the button below to be taken to your LMS dashboard. Alternatively, click logout to leave the system.