Bad Managers

Hi all, anyone have any advice on dealing with a manager who doesn't provide direction, support, etc to their staff?  We've received some feedback from a relatively new employee that team communication is poor, he hasn't had a 1-on-1, the goals he set for the year have been assigned to someone else or he assigns the same task to multiple people and everyone is wasting time on working on the same things as team members.  I'm afraid when I speak with the manager he is going to possibly retaliate with even less support.  

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  • We have helped several clients with this situation via a 360 degree survey. Often it is eye-opening for both the manager and their peers, subordinates, and mangers. They may understand that they need to work on certain skills or it may show that the manager is not suited to their position. Very affordable. You can contact me at

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  • Hello Karin! In these instances, the answer can vary based on your influence on the next steps.

    It sounds like this manager is not building an engaging or caring culture and must be made aware of the problems. Has anyone approached the manager with this feedback?

    If the manager is teachable and can be resuscitated, an honest conversation can go a long way. If the honest conversation does not initiate a positive change, I would begin with a PIP to address performance concerns. You can connect with his boss by offering your feedback in a consultative manner with an array of options to move forward - training, mentorship, etc.

    I like to give everyone a chance to become aware of a problem before we take formal disciplinary or performance steps. You may uncover issues going on, personally or professionally, that is causing this decline.

    Best of luck!

    Chadwick Klein, SHRM-SCP

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    • Jim Diebold
    • Providing Clarity through Collaboration
    • Jim_Diebold
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Karin, I agree with both Sue and Chadwick. Along Chadwick's thread, I would ask, what are the expectations regarding direction and support? Knowing those aren't happening, specific examples need to be given for a productive corrective/developmental feedback conversation. After specific examples are given (in other words no "I heard" comments - has to be what you have witnessed or what team members have shared), the negative effects on the team/organization must be provided. Expectations/Needs must be clearly defined. Then simply ask, "How can we move forward?". There are a couple other components I am happy to discuss with you to save space here.

    Good luck. Keep us all posted.

    Jim Diebold;

  • See my comment below about doing a 360 survey.  This is a great way to document perception of this manager from all surrounding personnel.  Subordinates, peers, and managers.  The outcome can provide recommended training, or you may come to other conclusions.  You may need to let the employee go, or you may discover that they would be valuable in another role.  Whatever you do, you must document.  We like the 360 option which provides an unbiased view from all those who interact with the employee, including the employee themselves.  

  • Hi Karin! I might start by checking in with the manager about how the new hire is doing and asking questions that will hopefully help lead the manager to think about how the onboarding experience has been for the new employee. For example: Checking in to see how Brad is doing! Brad mentioned that relationship with manager is important to him in the interview process so I wanted to see how it is going. Have you had your first 1:1 yet? Does he have goals assigned and understand how he fits into the team and larger organization? Is there anything that I can do to assist? etc...   I hope that helps! Bonita

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