Bad managers…a favorite topic of mine. I got spoiled early in life by spending four years in the Marine Corps where not all, but most of the leaders I worked with were very good and a couple were off the charts amazing. I have not since seen a work environment that has as favorable a good vs. bad management ratio.
I have seen my fair share of the silent treatment that you mentioned and another one that I see frequently is the illusion of interest.
Managers who want to appear to be interested in what you have to say, but they actually could care less. For example, the manager who comes to visit with you about a pending change to “get your feedback,” but the decision has already been made. Or the manager who solicits input, but then explains away or disagrees with everything that is offered up, never really considering or exploring any options.
I personally am in favor of banning those managers from society, but that is probably going to be viewed by some as extreme.
The actual solution is probably a bigger piece of work. I think this is actually one of many symptoms of an underlying problem, and that is that we are still using a 20th century approach to management in the 21st century world of business, which is very, very different.
How we create value has changed, how we communicate has changed, how we organize resources has changed, but very little has changed about our understanding of and approach to management. There are some exceptions, certainly, but you and I both see a lot of command and control, manager as parent type of organizations.
Most managers are not truly interested in the ideas and perspectives of their employees because they have somewhere along the line bought into the belief that being management means that they know best.
Managers rarely know what is best. They might know the inside scoop from the board room and they might know the latest budget numbers, but they rarely know what is best. It is almost impossible for managers to know what is best because they are further removed from the front line products and employees.
If you are any good at hiring people, you will end up with a team that together knows far more than you do. This is just reality and you should not pick a fight with it or pretend other wise.
Managers that are not willing and able to really tap into and value the perspectives, ideas and questions of their employees will eventually quit getting any of them and that is horribly wasteful.