No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Best and worst manager…


For a while now, we've run an exercise called 'Best or Worst Manager' as part of leadership and management developement programmes, particularly to help individuals focus upon their own behaviour and leadership style.

Do you have any of your own experience (good or bad!) to share?

If so, I would be interested in hearing from you.

The most important part of the exercise (for me) is to understand why people consider an individual to have been their best or worst manager.

Colin Hamilton
email: [email protected]
Colin Hamilton

10 Responses

  1. Managerial types
    In one of his excellent books on stress management Professor Carey Cooper identifies several “types” and strategies for dealing.THe types include
    Wheeler Dealer
    Reluctant Manager
    Open Manager

    And I believe today’s quality papers are profiling Dr Honey’s latest work on office types which have transferable application to your area


  2. One-man band
    I think the worst manager I’ve dealt with was a guy who didn’t trust his people. He funnelled everything through himself, and spent most of his time rushing around ordering paper clips and suchlike. Needless to say, most of us left for greener pastures.

  3. The worst……….
    The worst manager I ever worked for set objectives that he then changed 2 weeks later but insisted on measuring your work performance against the original objectives – he also set individuals objectives that weren’t part of their areas of responsibility – so they had no way of acheiving them – his reasoning being that manager x isn’t doing his/her job properly so one of your targets can be to help him/her – even though you would have no authority over manager x!

    He also prided himself on his cost consciousness so when people left (as they often did) he wouldn’t replace them so that he could show of that he was managing his headcount! This caused untold stress – none of which was helped by his leaving promptly at 4:30pm everyday!

    I could go on – if you want any more stories – let me know. My next manager was one of the best I have ever worked for – he cared, was even handed and he was thorough!

  4. What goes around…
    Well meaning incompetents are usually manageable if they at least have the savvy to play to their peoples strengths (I have had two managers that fall into this category). The ones I have had the most difficulty with have been (two, in the same company) the egocentrics who think they have to be nasty to be effective managers. Strangely both went the same way. Somewhere in the middle are those who are pathologically unable to share the necessary information to get the job done,and whose vision is theirs and only theirs, though there have been a couple who played their cards close to their chests in the vain hope that their staff wouldn’t catch on to the fact that they had none – the natural “fire fighters”, who always had fires to fight, not least becasue their staff would end up making sure they had them to fight in order to get on with the job. The best have used Ronald Regans favourite Russian proverb, “Trust but verify”, along with a clear identifiable and communicated set of objectives.
    Interesting what this tells you about the respondents as much as the perceptions of their bosses, but then that is the point, isn’t it?

  5. Bullying bosses are the worst.
    I am researching workplace bullying in the arts and have collected many examples of unacceptable behaviour and bad management which has caused widespread distress among employees. Intimidation and setting impossible goals seems to be the most frequent indicator. Unfortunately, the examples keep on coming…I believe this is telling us something important (and unpleasant) about some of today’s management practices.

  6. Back to Back
    I think I can count number of good managers I have had in 20 years on one hand, plenty of okay ones, and a few pretty dire.

    My last corporate job I went from having a female manager who I rated in my top three to another female manager who I place right of the scale of ‘rubbish’.
    Good manager, was whacky repsonsive, enthusiastic, and full on with good ideas, and we were both doing experimental training development and pushing the boundaries. We just gelled. Then I got another manager in who replaced her, my role stayed the same, but I never felt so dejected in my life.

    Here are my thoughts.

    I like Manager No1, because we were tuned into one another, very supportive of one another, so it was a real symbyosis. Also even though a woman was capable of being ‘laddish’ to coin a phrase. The rest of her team though highly respected her, and they were 70% female, 30% male.

    Manager No 2, was french, which from my global epxerience does not encourage new ideas. I think she struggled to manage people who had their own ideas, but appeared very willing to steal good peoples ideas to help her get recognition in the corporate hierachy. Most males rated her low (expect the odd passive member of the team), and interestingly french male colleagues found her wanting (so not just my British bias).

    I have also managed UK based teams as well as global teams, and (as far as I know) no one ever disliked me, they may have queried my modus operandi, but I was never dictating.

    I think good managers are really mentors and as a manager I was always encouraging people to take over my shoes, so I could move on, and also let them develop their careers and knowledge.

    One thing I have since done some reading on is the ‘Bio-energetics’ stuff from Cranfield, which is fascinating, and makes real sense if you relate it to basic transactional analysis stuff as described in, ‘I’m okay, Your Okay’.

    I think because I know myslef really well (warts and all), I am reasonable at summing up people, and so as a manager it helped me relate peoples feelings to a need to support the rest of the team and also the whole of the business.

    Could ramble on for ages, but now self employed, and at least I have Manager No 2 for making me realise that I did not need to put up with her carping to bring in the money.

    Well hope this all makes sense.


    Pete King

  7. a mixed bag
    I too have worked for good, bad and indifferent managers. The best managers have been professional, knowledgeable, prepared to listen, thoughtful, decisive, team-spirited and encouraging. The worst have been manipulative, poor listeners, paranoid and de-motivating.

  8. My worst manager
    My worst manager was so bad that I ended up walking out of the job one day never to return. I pursued a grievance too with the Personnel department with a view to repremanding this woman or creature who thought that they could get away with bullying and victimisation in the work place. Staff were sacked if they didn’t perform properly, not trained, people were screamed at in the middle of the office, people were ridiculed and sworn at, need I go on. Right now I have a fantastic manager who is able to talk to me like a person, listens to me, encourages me and motivates me. I never before knew that this type of management existed. How sad.

  9. Not bad managers but bad behaviours !
    I remember attending an excellent workshop by Wayne Thomas from who was explaining how to create behavioural objectives that were focussed on achieving business objectives. What reminded me about it was that he used real life examples of what he called ‘inappropriate’ behaviours by managers that he had been called in to change their behaviours – if you want a laugh that has a serious message it might be worth contacting him direct via his company’s web site.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!