This article examines how widespread bad management truly is and how we need to have a realistic look at ourselves to see the potential we have to be bad managers ourselves.


Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, entrepreneurship, business studies

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What makes a bad manager?
  • Why do managers often fail to be good managers?
  • How prone am I to be a bad manager?

New Terminology:

Volatility, arrogance, aloofness

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Learning Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Complaints about bad management are as widespread as complaints about the weather. We have all experienced it and we all have ideas about what needs to be done to correct it. We seldom, however, take a look at ourselves to see the likelihood that we too could be bad managers. This lesson will have the students explore what they believe to be bad management and then consider the degree to which they could also exhibit those traits.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by giving the students the adage “Those who use power, lose power” and ask them to explain it.
  • Once you have established the idea that it suggests a gulf between the leader and those being led and a reliance on authority alone, inform the students that this is often cited as the sign of a bad manager – someone who oversees by authority without regard for those below.
  • Ask the students individually to write down five things that make bad managers.
  • Once they have done this, arrange the students in pairs and have them exchange ideas.
  • With this completed, have the pairs join with another pair and repeat the process.
  • Once completed, have the foursomes join another foursome, forming a group of eight, and have them compile a complete list.
  • At this stage, have the groups report back to the class as a whole and build a final list.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Ask the students to identify times at which they have seen these traits at work.

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • Identify a list of traits exhibited by bad managers.
  • Indicate the degree to which they might display some of these traits given the right circumstances.

Confirming Activity:

  • As a necessary conclusion to this lesson, ask the students to pick five traits or demonstrated behaviours and complete a writing assignment in which they explain how they personally would have to take care to avoid behaving in that fashion.