As we all know, it takes a good team to keep an organisation running efficiently. Unfortunately, some team leaders end up causing rifts that prevent the team members from performing at their best. Left unaddressed, a less-than-harmonious relationship between team members and managers could lead to a decline in performance, a toxic work culture, and a high turnover rate.
As a manager, you need to be aware of how your actions impact the way your whole team operates. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common signs of a toxic management style to help you determine if it’s time for you to make some changes to your behaviour.
You Lack Accountability and Are Quick to Bad-Mouth Others
One of the traits of a good leader is being able to own up to mistakes. Conversely, toxic managers often make excuses or shift the blame to their subordinates even if the fault lies with themselves.
Moreover, managers like this also tend to bad-mouth others. Aside from being a passive-aggressive way of exerting authority, this behaviour shows a lack of professionalism and poor communication skills.
By contrast, good managers know how to openly communicate issues with the team and work with individual members to progress past these concerns. As a leader, you must initiate efforts to resolve problems that team members may have—be it with their jobs, with each other, or even with you. You must learn how to productively manage conflicts with your colleagues before these issues escalate and result in a toxic workplace.
You Tend to Isolate Yourself from Your Team
If you tend to stay away from your team and lack the desire to know them better, you may need to work on your management skills. Antisocial tendencies are a sign that you’re a poor communicator, which is not something good managers should be. As a manager, you need to let your team know that you care about them as individuals and not just as subordinates who are there to get tasks done.
You’re Not Invested in the Growth of Your Team
According to a recent Google study on management behaviour, employees rate top-performing managers higher due to their coaching skills. Based on this, we can infer that good managers care about building the skills of everyone on the team. Good managers also don’t feel easily frustrated when an employee shows signs that they may need more coaching than usual.
So, if you want to be an effective leader, you need to be invested in the growth of each team member and proactively aid in their success by providing them with regular feedback. On top of boosting the calibre of your team, promoting this culture of coaching also improves retention, builds loyalty, and shows employees that they have value in the company.
Given the above benefits, establish growth strategies and communicate the vision to the team. These are just a few actions that can help motivate them to do better in their respective tasks.
Your Workload Always Seems Unmanageable
Managers often have a lot of responsibilities; not only do they have to ensure that their subordinates get work done, but they also have their own tasks to accomplish. Difficulties in handling their workload could affect how they distribute and delegate tasks among their team members. Being constantly unable to manage your workload could be a sign that you are having trouble with self-management.
If you find your managerial responsibilities difficult, it may be prudent to get the guidance, or coaching, on how to work more efficiently as a manager. After all, you cannot ask your teammates to perform better if you cannot improve your work performance.
You Micromanage a Lot
Micromanagement is one of the hallmarks of a toxic management style. While checking up on team members’ progress from time to time is fine, constantly needing to double-check work is when it becomes toxic. Indeed, doing this is counterproductive, as it only makes employees feel extra conscious about the work they are already doing.
Instead of supervising every task your team members do, help them feel more empowered to make their own decisions. Remember, your job as a manager is to guide, not to act like an authoritative ruler.
You Make Sporadic and Reactive Decisions
Another toxic behaviour that drives employees away is indecisiveness and scatter-mindedness at the leadership level. Rapidly making one decision after another without regard for your team members’ time is a sign that you cannot establish clear goals and have low emotional intelligence. If you notice that your teammates are always stressed out and anxious around you, it may be because you make many decisions that inconvenience the whole team.
The best way to resolve this management flaw is by inculcating the one trait that makes us human: empathy. Being able to see things from another person’s perspective will help you make better decisions and help team members grow instead of setting them up to fail.
You Show Favouritism
Managers that favour some employees over others can quickly demotivate the whole group and keep them from trying to shine. Favouritism is also a sign that you revolve your decisions around your personal biases instead of overarching professional objectives.
When managing a team, it’s important to level the playing field and treat one another with respect. Picking favourites only instils a clique-ish mentality among members and discourages the so-called “non-favourites” from speaking out and improving themselves.
Work on Yourself So That You Can Work Well with Others
When it comes to building high-performing teams, it takes two to tango—or, rather, it takes a good manager to build a good team. While managers must be able to recognise points of improvement in their team members, they must also know how to spot these weaknesses in themselves. Knowing that you need to do better as a leader may be a hard truth to swallow, but it’s necessary for building a healthy and productive workplace that will propel the organisation forward.