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5 Reasons Why Bad Managers Exist

Recently my newsfeed has been flooded with stories of toxic management as shown through rude and ridiculous job interviews, managers sabotaging employee’s careers, creating negative and stressful work environments and requesting unrealistic demands.

Considering the abundant information out there on such topics, how ‘woke’ the gen-z generation is and how widely media attention is given to such behaviours, it makes one question why this conduct by managers continues? How come there is still so many toxic managers walking amongst us?

Well, after a few head scratches, we have come up with our own professional theories as career coaches and HR managers as to why there are still so many poor managers out there.

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1. Human Nature and Power Trips. At the end of the day no matter how society changes, people are still people. An individual’s behaviour may be altered and controlled in front of others, however thoughts, feelings and even beliefs may not match. How many influencers do you see preach one thing and then eventually get caught doing the very opposite. We can only pretend to be someone else for so long. By the time one is in a management job, a lot of their guard is down. They are confident in their abilities to perform the duties and believe their positions are secure…after-all, they deem themselves as a vital member of the organisation. Ego and power trips take over. However, unless you have a unique set of skills that are limited in the population, you are replaceable, even in a senior role. Your employment is never 100 percent secure, and you should always be looking at up-skilling yourself and ensure you are indeed a valuable member of the team through your work ethic, knowledge, and ability to adapt. Power trips will eventually bite you back and karma will show its true colours.

2. Poor Skills. There is a chance your manager may have the best intentions; however, they do not have the right level of training. They either lack the skills required, had a poor mentor themselves or simply do not have the “management style” personality required to lead a team with success. There is a theory called the Peter Principle. This principle explains that an individual who thrives in a role gets promoted, they do well and get promoted once again, and the cycle continues. With each promotion, a different skill is required to be used. Eventually they reach a level of promotion/position of employment they can no longer perform as they do not have the relevant skills needed. It becomes too complicated and instead of thriving, they fail in their jobs. People are not born managers. They tend to grow into the role – experience and years behind them allow them to level up until they reach the top and/or as far as they can go. For some, management level is simply one level too far up the food chain and they cannot handle the pressure and responsibilities. We all want to grow in our careers, it is part of human nature – it comes from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory where once our basic needs are met, we seek more…eventually we seek self-actualisation, meaning we seek our highest self and abilities.

3. Ill Equipped.  Slightly different to point 2, in this example, the manager is a one-man band. It’s a small company and they cannot afford to pay for HR or another manager to run the show. So, they are wearing multiple hats – they are the accountant, marketing and even team leader.

We cannot be proficient in everything. Roles such as Human Resource Analysts, Accountants, PR, Administration, Marketing, and even Leadership and Management have their own specific courses for individuals to study. We focus on one career/position/job and study to become skillful in it. The objective is to become an expert and the best we can be in our chosen field. Consequently, when we deal with a manager who wears more than one hat, it increases the chances of poor leadership. It can even be that said manager may not realise their behaviour is impactful in a negative way due to the fact they have not had the relevant training and support behind them and become overwhelmed with the multiple roles they are required to fulfil. They may mean well but simply do not have the manpower and skills to do what is right.

If you want to discuss your personal career and its progression, reach out to us at My Career Angels, to discuss Career Change Coaching and see what position(s) would suit you and how to get there.


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4. Ignorance. There is a chance your manager may not even realise their behaviour and believe everyone is thriving under their reign. There is clearly little to no self-awareness, nor is there any emotional intelligence to read the room. This does align closer to point two as well, however, it comes down to more personality rather than lacking skills. Some people are simply not born leaders or a ‘people person’. They may be fantastic at their job in terms of understanding what the company needs and how to deliver it themselves, however they lack the ability to guide a team to support them through poor communication, style and bedside manner.

5. Narcissist and/or Psychopath. Then there is the worst kind of manager – the one who is aware of their behaviour and does not care to improve, change or take action to pivot their style. This is the manager who will make you wait for an hour in a job interview, this is the manager who hinders your career and prevents you from succeeding, this is the manager who will make you work holidays or while you are sick and enjoys watching you suffer. This is the manager you should avoid at all costs!

At the end of the day, the company culture helps to dictate the management style. In most cases your manager has their own manager to report to. You can either speak with your internal Human Resources (HR) or escalate your concerns to higher levels of the organisation (who you go to depends on the company structure). It is then hopefully escalated, and the right actions are taken- whether it be re-training, demoting or making one self-aware.

One way in ensuring and preventing working with toxic management is at your job interview and identifying red flags early. Read our Job Interview Red Flags Blog to discover how to do so. You can also download our free 65 Interview Questions Guide to help you ask the relevant questions needed at your next job interview.

If you need help with your job interview skills, then check out our Interview Coaching package. We have a 100 percent success rate with job offers to all our clients after our coaching sessions.


My Career Angels…helping you become who you want to be.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

– Steve Martin

Helping pursue your career

My first job in Australia was through the help of one of the My Career Angels consultants.

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