There are countless management styles and techniques. Management styles can rise a company to extraordinary heights or make it crash and burn.

These are some poor management styles that you may encounter or should avoid using at all costs. In the end, it will cost you and the organization. Poor management will drive morale into the ground and productivity will suffer. Most likely, your staff is educated and/or trained professionals. Poor management gives them no incentive to be loyal employees or a reason to stay with the company.

Avoid using these poor management styles in your organization, immediately!

Well, the book says…

So, the management reads the most recent and trendy management style/leadership books and wants to put them in action. This becomes evident when management starts to do some things that are very out of character.

One of the most obvious and ridiculous examples of this is when they have the “trust” exercises. Someone closes his/her eyes and falls backward and is caught by the team members. Who thought of that and why is it a good “trust” exercise? OK, so it may be symbolic for teamwork. But, catching someone from falling in an exercise is not going to do anything to promote good teamwork in the workplace.Poor Business Management Kills Employee Morale

A management textbook may provide you with basic techniques on how to lead your organization. But, if you use the techniques incorrectly or force your newfound leadership style on the staff without explanation, you will run into some resistance.

Management Language and Jargon

With every new management technique book that is published, comes a whole new business vocabulary that everyone is supposed to learn, use, and embrace.

New managerial language is laden with office slang and is supposed to be accepted by everyone. It may seem clever or haughty that you are speaking a new language. More often than not, new managerial language and jargon sound silly, or worse, many of the staff won’t know what you are saying.

There are many, many more new managerial phrases and cliches in use.

Employees would rather hear you speak in plain language or terminology related to their profession or industry. That’s all.



Sure, management may say that there are no “favorites”, whether family or friends in the organizations. But, it is always obvious there are a chosen few. The chosen will get extra perks and better and more visible projects. They may get the best salary increases, even if they are not the best performers.

Management will “visit” them much more often than the other staff in the trenches who are making it all happen. Employees are never allowed to question any incidences of nepotism, without retribution.

“You Listen To Us, We Don’t Listen To You”

“Just do what we tell you.” is another poor management strategy. It may work in military situations where lives depend on obedience, but not in the office.

Management fails when they refuse to listen to people with experience and knowledge on a topic that is new to the organization. Employees come from a variety of backgrounds. An employee may have encountered a particular and similar problem in the past at a competing company or in a similar situation. If management fails to listen, they may go down the wrong path and waste a lot of time and money.

Manage the Project, not the People

In a perfect world, when a manager assigns a project to the team the manager only has to manage the project, not the people. Most likely, the staff are trained professionals and know how to perform their assigned tasks and responsibilities. They may seek guidance from the manager or colleagues to complete their assignments.

The function of the manager is set timelines and goals for each portion of the project, not to micro-manage the staff.


If you are assigned a task or project and management is hovering over you to second-guess every move you make, this is a sign of two problems.

The first problem is that you are not trusted with the assignment. Never be afraid to ask this question of them. Remember, the person is just a manager, nothing more.

The second problem is that management may not have anything else to do, so they in effect harass the employees by hanging around and watching and criticizing every action. This is one sign that the manager is not adding any value to the organization. So, they try to belittle the staff who is contributing to help the organization succeed.

Team Building Mistakes

When management wants to put together teams to solve problems, sometimes they err when they fail to include everyone in their project. Everyone at all levels has something of value to add. Involved employees are productive and contribute to the success of the organization.


Lying to Employees

Lying to employees is corrosive. If they find out that you are lying to them, they may reciprocate the gesture. So, trust is destroyed.

It is better to tell them the correct answer, such as “We can not share that information with you (or the staff)” or “I do not know the answer to your question” (only if you do not know the answer). Sometimes it is better to say nothing rather than to lie to your employees.

The staff would rather hear the truth, no matter how bad it may be. When they have the truth, they can deal with the situation much better. If they are lied to, they will never trust you again. So, do not expect to have faithful employees if you are a dishonest leader.

“Secret” Meetings

Yes, everyone knows that some corporate information needs to be kept secret and known only to a few people. If sensitive information is leaked, it can mean disaster for the company.

But, when “secret” meetings occur only to exclude people and failing to provide them with information that they need to do their job well does not benefit anyone.


Surveys may ask for employee input to improve processes, which can beneficial for the company. But, there may be a dark side. Surveys can be a sneaky way for management to find out who are the subversive employees

They may say the computer-based survey is completely anonymous, but they have ways of tracking your responses via your IP address. No corporate employee survey is ever completely anonymous.

Mishandling Budgeting Issues

So, the company is cutting back on salary increases, employee travel, professional organization dues, major equipment purchases, supplies, and other expenses in the economic downturn. This situation is completely understandable by everyone.

However, if the staff has to endure the budget cuts while management is going on expensive “team-building” exercise junkets and the like, this demonstrates extremely poor financial managerial judgment, sets a bad leadership example, and trust is destroyed.

Leading by Fear and Intimidation

This is the worst management style offense you will encounter.

When management conducts fear tactics, such as announced at a meeting that any poor performers will be fired and replaced immediately. This behavior does not benefit anyone

When management has to lead by fear and intimidation, it is a good sign that their positions are on the line. So, instead of being upfront and encouraging everyone to pitch in to do a better job to help the company succeed, they take the low road and play the blame game. Abusive management is a sure sign of low self-esteem, insecurity, and instability within the system.

Fear and intimidation is harassment. But, if you bring this concern to Human Resources, it may be pushed aside because HR usually agrees with management. You may be labeled as a whistleblower and a troublemaker. Your manager will make your life miserable.

As a result, some employees will react to the big, scary management beast and cower down in submission and play along. Some employees will become the manager’s “best friend” and agree to anything as the holy word. Some employees will react with indifference and not change their behavior. Some employees will question the irrational situation and will forever be labeled as troublemakers.

All four of these employee reactions can be moot if management does not play the “fear” card.

Leading by fear and intimidation will not win the respect and support of your employees.

Some final words…

Management must identify the reasons for failures. Management must determine if the process (materials, design, equipment, etc.) or the people (untrained, tired, bored, sick, etc.) are the cause of the problem before rushing to judgment.Poor Business Management Kills Employee Morale

A manager must trust and listen to the employees in the organization. They are the people making it happen every day.

Leadership is not about control. Leadership is about trust and respect. Always treat the employees with respect. If the organization trusts and respects the manager as a leader, management will get their cooperation and support. If they also trust and respect the leader as a person, management will have a well functioning and successful corporate family.

Poor management styles should be avoided if the company wants to maintain elevated employee morale and a successful business.