We’ve all heard (or experienced) the “bad boss” horror stories – managers who have no idea how to handle a difficult situation, who micromanage to the point of madness; at worst, they engage in discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation, and unethical or illegal behavior.
There are countless ways a bad manager can fail employees, and their organizations, too. They fail to listen, discourage dissent, don’t provide support or resources, take undue credit or misplace blame, pit employees against each other, fail to develop talent, don’t value diversity and inclusion, fail to set clear expectations, make assumptions. And that’s by no means a complete list of bad manager traits.
On the flip side, a good manager can make such a positive impact on an individual that it can change the trajectory of their career, if not their life. Good managers recognize and develop talent. They advocate for their employees and encourage promotions, putting them on the path to success.
Good managers have the right combination of skills to lead their teams through the good times and the bad times. They create a culture of trust and accountability; set clear expectations; engage, motivate, and reward their direct reports; listen first; coach and mentor; follow through; treat people fairly and with respect; are compassionate, genuine, and self-aware. Again, that’s not an exhaustive list.
With a remote workforce, it’s all the more critical to employ managers who are adept at engaging employees who don’t report to a physical office every day. Managers must have a keen awareness of how to engage those employees and keep them connected to the culture in the absence of in-person interactions. It can be harder to pick up on non-verbal cues through Zoom than it is in person, so managers need to have the emotional intelligence to connect with their direct reports and be aware of their day-to-day challenges.