Bramble Logo Blog
Published on

How to sabotage a promising new manager in 10 easy steps!


A motivated team is a productive team…

and wouldn’t you know it, the role of the manager is the single most important contributing factor when it comes to how motivated and engaged employees are in any organization. Research shows that 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores are attributable to their direct manager and yet businesses continually overlook the importance of managers on performance as evidenced by the following facts;

  • 82% of the time, companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job.
  • Almost 60% of managers said they never received any training when they transitioned into their first leadership role.
  • 50% of individual contributors feel their own performance would improve with a manager skilled in people management.
  • A staggering 84% of workers say that poorly trained managers create a lot of unnecessary work and stress.

With so much research and data highlighting the importance of having the right leaders in place, and continually investing in their development - some companies continue to fall in the trap of making the same mistakes over and over and over and over and… you get the point.

So here are the Top 10 ways to sabotage a promising new manager (with the added benefit of tanking staff motivation):

  1. Promote them into a leadership role because ‘they’re really good at processing the work.’ Great individual contributors do not always make great managers, just like great sports people don’t always make great coaches - they require different skills. For more on this, check out the Peter Principle.
  2. Have their predecessor conduct the handover…what better way to pass on the bad habits and reinforce the status quo!
  3. Send them on a 3-day leadership course and expect them to retain all the knowledge they learnt via a classroom environment and some role-playing, and that it will immediately improve their leadership skills… I mean they got 3 WHOLE DAYS! A vast amount of research has been conducted comparing the efficacy of classroom vs active learning…and yet managers are still sent off to leadership boot-camp.
  4. Set KPIs for them that don’t at all align with the larger strategy…and in fact, why do they even need to know about the broader strategy right? That’s above their pay-grade anyway.
  5. Provide ineffective performance reporting that is either too basic, or too complex and disparate, and expect them to manage their team effectively…even better, just give them a plethora of Tableau or BI and let them figure it out for themselves.
  6. Don’t establish or encourage the establishment of a communication cadence for the manager to follow - much better for them to communicate with the team via email/IM and stick to the formal monthly 1:1s - staff love that approach!
  7. Shift the goal-posts. Clear expectation-setting, routine check-ins and providing your manager with enough flexibility to achieve said expectations…why would you do that? Much better to be loitering over their shoulder waiting for a slip-up
  8. Don’t act as a mentor/coach to them at all. You were able to rise through the ranks with minimum guidance, right? Why shouldn’t they?
  9. Make sure they focus on clock-watching rather than outcomes. It’s far more important to the business that Mary punches in-and-out on time than worry about what she actually achieved.
  10. Expect them to deal with escalations and complaints. After all, they are the best processor in the team. Never mind that the time spent by your manager reacting to ‘the work’ is time that could have been invested in improving the performance of their team as a whole.