Avoid These 9 Toxic Supervisor Behaviors
Whether it’s the interview or personality test, hiring managers tend to focus on the positive traits and characteristics of job applicants when hiring or promoting employees. While strengths are essential for success, it is also important to recognize potential weaknesses and challenges.
For example, an aspiring supervisor or manager might possess all the makings of a strong leader…except for one or two potential flaws. Like Achilles, whose strengths and immortality were negated by one vulnerability, the following nine behaviors cannot be ignored when evaluating the potential of a supervisor.
1. Low need to probe
These individual feel little need to ask questions. They tend to accept the word of others as fact and have tendency to miss the obvious. When they do research, they read the executive summaries and skim the surface. They may not anticipate long term consequences and miss extenuating circumstances.
2. Over reliance on self
These supervisors are often promoted into management roles because as individuals performers they tend to take initiative and work independently. But once in a supervisory role, they may tend to make plans and decisions without involving others. They tend to struggle working in a team-oriented manner. They may not discuss plans or seek advice even when it could improve the quality of a decision or action. They are also reluctant to delegate and seek or accept help even when necessary.
These individuals tend to find change threatening and therefore avoid a possibilities-oriented approach to problem solving. While they may be credited for their results-oriented approach, they also believe that “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” The more experienced the individual, the greater the threat to accepting new ideas and missing opportunities.
4. Low follow-through
These individuals tend to have a relaxed attitude about deadlines or obligations. They also tend to lose interest and give up easily. As a result, they may let others down by not meeting deadlines or following through.
5. Low frustration tolerance
These individuals lack resilience when frustrated. They tend to worry unnecessarily and may have difficulty recovering from setbacks or difficult circumstances.
These individuals have a tendency to speak up and avoid confrontation, even when knowledge they have could be helpful. They can be easily intimated or overshadowed by more assertive people and let others dominate. They may be appear quiet or appear uncomfortable standing their ground. As a result they may fail to hold their employees and team members accountable.
7. Disinterest in others
These individuals may be shy and prefer to work alone. They tend to make it difficult for others to get to know them. They are not likely to seek out other managers or employees and avoid group functions. When they do attend, they stand alone or stick like glue to familiar people. They may avoid direct engagement with employees and peers and instead communicate through memos, emails, and voice mail. Presentations to even small groups are awkward.
8. Takes criticism personally
These individuals tend to take criticism, feedback, and rejection personally. They receive performance feedback as an indication of self-worth. When criticized, they tend to be defensive and may try to protect themselves rather than address performance problems. They may even feel criticized when no criticism is intended. As supervisors, they have difficulty giving other employees feedback.
These individuals tend to act spontaneously and often act out or speak before they think. They may express themselves too readily and say or do things which they later regret. Their behavioral style determines how they respond to adversity (eg. Angry, withdraw, fearful, or chatty.) Others may see them as immature, impulsive, or unpredictable.
What is the best way to assess these traits during the employee selection process and avoid a bad manager hire?
Because candidates are often coached to put their best foot forward and hiring managers are blinded by the sell job, the interview is generally not the best assessment tool for exposing these nine toxic supervisor behaviors.
Personality tests, on the other hand, specifically address each of these nine behaviors. One such employee assessment – ASSESS – includes the following nine traits that could expose potential supervisory failure: reflective, self reliance, realism, task closure, resilience, assertiveness, sociability, criticism tolerance, and self-control.
For more about ASSESS, click here.