A Manager’s Worst Trait

Image courtesy of Jason Corey's photostream

Image courtesy of Jason Corey’s photostream

As I have progressed in my career I have come to realize that every job has its pros and cons.  And every supervisor does as well.  Sometimes your supervisor is too hands off.  Or sometimes you might come across a micro-manager.  You may wish that you received more praise or credit.  Or maybe you receive so much praise that it seems insincere.  One person may enjoy a leader who is more casual and friendly in nature while another prefers a more professional relationship.  I have learned how to balance all of these traits over my professional career.  The one trait that is hardest for me to adapt to is the leader who follows the philosophy of Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

This type of leader, if you can call it that, sets expectations that they are not willing to follow themselves.  They enforce rules, policies, or procedures that are often antiquated or lack common sense.  Often this comes from a place of insecurity and the need to feel “in charge.”  This type of culture prevents people from being empowered to do the right thing, even if no one is watching.

When the leader follows the Do As I Say, Not As I Do philosophy it is detrimental to the whole organization.  Culture comes from above.  If the leader is setting expectations that they are not willing to follow themselves that creates a culture of in-cohesiveness, resentment, and a general lack of buy-in from all employees.  That is not to say that leadership always needs to do EVERYTHING the employee does but they should be willing and able to when the time comes.

Managers are leaders and therefore everything from their dress, word choice, work habits, and policies should be the prime example of the expectation of their teams.  As a manager, if you expect employees to respond to your emails over the weekend, then you should be willing to do the same for your team.  Or if you expect your team to dress in a certain way, you should be following those same rules.

Management is a 24/7 job.  You do not get to pick and choose when you want to lead and follow the rules and when you want to take a backseat and break the rules.  If you want to create a culture of engaged employees, committed to a common goal, start by eliminating the Do As I Say, Not As I Do philosophy from your office culture.


  1. Barbara, As I’ve come to expect…yet another valuable post. Thought provoking and profound. Kudos and thank you – Jay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *