What a Manager Must not Do – 9 Unacceptable Behaviors

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What should a Manager not do? This is an important question, especially in a workplace where the manager’s way of leading is unsatisfactory and risks creating a negative atmosphere and poor well-being among employees. In the worst case, a manager’s bad behavior can lead employees to consider resigning.

Having a manager who behaves nonchalantly, loses their temper repeatedly, criticizes employees, and neglects initiatives can be extremely taxing. In this article, you will find examples of what a manager should not do, as well as what you can do if your boss’s behavior is unacceptable.

What should a Manager not do – nine behaviors you should not have to accept.

It is important to know what a manager should not do, where the boundaries lie between negative but explainable and perhaps stress-related actions, and what constitutes directly inappropriate behavior.

If you have a boss who often behaves poorly or is unacceptable, you may need to stand up and speak out. However, bosses who act rudely, unethically, or even illegally are not always easy to deal with. It can be difficult to determine where the boundaries truly lie and how specific situations should be assessed. In such cases, it can be helpful to know what constitutes inappropriate behavior that you should not have to accept, and what you can do about it.

To learn what a boss should not do and be able to identify situations where you and your colleagues feel mistreated, you can refer to the examples below to validate your experiences. It would be a shame if your boss’s behavior were to eventually become unbearable, leading you to consider resigning, but it can indeed go that far if you don’t speak up.

In the best-case scenario, your boss may not have realized the situation and therefore reacts positively when you point out that certain behaviors are not acceptable. However, if you suspect that having a dialogue about the issue will be difficult, it may be wise to seek assistance from colleagues, the HR department, or the labor union. More about what you can do yourself is discussed later in the article.

Examples of what a manager should not do

Here are nine behaviors to watch out for, along with descriptions of what a manager should not do:

Work Hours:

The manager does not respect the agreed-upon work hours and demands that you work overtime or be available outside of work hours, such as evenings and weekends. If your boss frequently demands this, perhaps every week, it is not acceptable.

2. Work Tasks

Your regular tasks are expanded without agreement to include what should be the boss’s responsibilities. Even if there is a lot to do and your boss is stressed, it is unacceptable for you to be responsible for tasks that clearly fall under the boss’s duties, such as managing budgets, conflicts, or workplace issues.

3. Engagement

The boss is disengaged and behaves nonchalantly. This suggests that he or she does not genuinely care about the employees. A leader and boss are responsible not only for ensuring that the work is done but also for ensuring that employees are well and feel seen and appreciated. The lack of personal and genuine engagement from the boss is a common reason for employees to resign.

4. Ethics

The manager behaves unethically. Leadership that involves unethical behavior is entirely unacceptable. This could involve your boss acting illegally or forcing you to do so, which is something you should never have to agree to. Unethical actions may include ethically or morally objectionable behavior, such as invisibility, objectification, or violence and threats.

5. Communication

Your boss cannot communicate and lacks social skills. If the boss does not communicate, acknowledge, reward, and provide feedback to employees when they do a good job, there is a significant risk that employees will lose motivation. This can negatively affect employee well-being and productivity.

6. Leadership

Your boss uses power tactics. The type of leadership a boss employs can be crucial for how the workplace functions. If your boss uses power tactics that belittle you and your colleagues, it is highly likely to lead to a negative atmosphere and decreased job satisfaction. Power tactics involve the boss socially manipulating and undermining individuals or groups. Unfortunately, power tactics are quite common in authoritarian leadership. You can read more about how to handle a bad boss.

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7. Failure to Exercise Management Rights

The manager does not fulfill their obligations. The exercise of management rights is a fundamental principle in labor law, which means that the boss is responsible for managing the business and allocating work in a proper manner. Your boss cannot exercise management rights arbitrarily or in a way that goes against good practice.

8. Values

The manager’s values lead to an unhealthy company culture in the workplace. Unhealthy values may include sexism, discrimination, or racism, which are entirely unacceptable. Questionable values may also involve making promises that are not kept, affecting the boss’s credibility and reliability. Unhealthy values involve a lack of respect for other people, which is never acceptable.

9. Exploitation

The manager exploits their staff. This means that the boss places unreasonable performance demands on employees. A boss who does this essentially punishes employees for doing a good job. Constantly demanding more, even though the staff is already performing at maximum capacity, is counterproductive for the business and unreasonably increases the workload on employees. This should not be accepted.

What You Can Do if Your Manager’s Behavior is Unacceptable

A manager cannot do anything they want, and as an employee, they have the right to voice their concerns if things are not going well in the workplace. While a boss may be stressed and overwhelmed and may not receive enough support themselves, these are not acceptable excuses if they negatively impact the employees. Your boss should always behave appropriately and ensure that you and your colleagues have a positive experience at work.

However, it does happen that bosses can be very unpleasant. If you, as an employee, speak up about misconduct, you may risk being labeled as difficult and uncooperative. If you want or need to protest against your boss’s inappropriate behavior, it may be wise to do so together with one or more colleagues and, ideally, with the assistance of an HR representative or the labor union.

Request an initial meeting with the manager where you explain how the negative behavior is affecting the workplace and the employees. If this does not have the desired effect, you can escalate the matter to the boss’s superior, if applicable. If nothing changes, you may be able to report the poor working environment to a labor union representative or the Labor Inspection Authority.

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What is a good manager?

A good boss should be able to balance performance demands with the more humane aspects of leadership. Seeing, acknowledging, and developing employees is important for all bosses, as it helps people feel well and do their best for the company.

Ultimately, good leadership involves finding a balance between performance and well-being and giving each individual the opportunity to develop positively in their role. A good boss shows empathy and understanding and encourages employees so that they feel motivated and can handle both successes and challenges.

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