Weak managers already know the answer — If you make a sensible suggestion to a poor manager, he or she is likely to ignore it or find a way to put you down. Weak managers don’t want their authority to be questioned, so when you offer a new idea, a weak manager may say “I already thought of that” or “You don’t know how the system works.” They are inflexible – it’s their way or the highway! However, a strong manager will listen and ask you more questions so that they understand what you’re proposing and how it might help the team.
Weak managers tell you what you’re doing wrong, instead of what you’re doing right -Weak managers point out mistakes. You could do 99% of your job perfectly, but a weak manager will find the 1% that could have been better, and shove your face in it. If you go to work afraid to make a mistake instead of being excited about the possibilities of accomplishing great things, you are working for a weak manager. Strong managers reinforce the great things their teammates do.
Weak managers don’t want to change anything. Once they set a policy or make a pronouncement, in their opinion it’s cast in stone. If you have a better idea for how to do things, you’d better keep it to yourself or, if you’re good at framing ideas, tell your weak manager that your good idea is really his or her idea. Strong managers, however, say “What can we do better? What do we need to change around here?”
Weak managers don’t want to hear what you think. Weak managers don’t want to give their teammates any say over the work they’re performing. Doing that might threaten the their sense of authority. The last thing a weak manager wants to do is to look in the mirror. The second-to-last thing a weak manager wants to do is to get better at leading. That might be scary. The weak manager chooses fear over trust because when people are afraid of the manager, they’ll keep quiet. Strong managers, on the other hand, understand that every person on their teams has millions of brain cells, every one of which could help solve the latest issues and obstacles at work.
Sources: “Forbes” magazine; and Liz Ryan, writer for the Huffington Post, Denver Post, Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn, and Forbes, among others.