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Joe,

As I was reading through the Manifesto again recently, one page in particular spoke to me.  It was in the chapter of the Manifesto intended for leaders.  For whatever reason, this statement jumped off the page:

GET OUT OF THE WAY.  People want to kick ass.  You just need to let them.

It’s been a while since we trained our cross-hairs on bad management, so I thought we could exchange some thoughts here on our “favorite” bad management practices.  Let’s shine a light on these practices so that the Talent Anarchist’s of the world can rise up and crush them.  We must demand better from ourselves and our leaders.

Bad Management Practice #1: The Silent Treatment

It seems that almost every day, I hear another story about how an individual never hears much from their manager.  For some, this means that the manager literally doesn’t talk them . . . at all.  Sadly, this isn’t as rare as it should be.  In most cases, it’s that the manager doesn’t talk to the employee about anything that really matters.  No information about what’s going on.  No information about decisions being made.  And absolutely no feedback about what’s expected of them or how they are doing towards meeting those expectations.

There are probably a lot of reasons that this happens.  We promote the wrong people into management.  Tenure in a job is not a qualification to manage people.  We also do a very poor job of training our managers to manage.  Learning to communicate with others doesn’t happen from listening to a trainer for 60 minutes or reading a book.  Those things might give us some tools, but you have to practice.  Actually doing it and learning from the experience is the only great way to learn these skills.

The silent treatment is not cool and it’s not okay.  If you are a manager, you need to sit down with your people regularly (at least once every 2 weeks).  If you are not a manager, but you have one and he/she sucks at communicating, you should demand a regular meeting.  The meeting should have an agenda with at least these four agenda items:

  1. Stuff the manager knows that the individual should probably know about (Call it Team Updates)
  2. Stuff the individual knows that the manager should probably know about (Call it Progress Updates)
  3. Feedback on how the individual is performing relative to the manager’s expectations.
  4. Q&A (Space in the discussion to bring up whatever is most important.)
This won’t necessarily cure a manager who is giving the silent treatment, but it’s a step in the right direction.
What is your “favorite” bad management practice?
-Jason

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