3 traits that explain why some managers are ineffective

These are some of the top bad manager traits.

It is said that people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. Unfortunately, we all know just how true that is. Think about the last few jobs that you’ve had. What made you quit? Or even worse, what made you stay, but hate your job every day? More than likely a bad manager had a lot to do with that. Here are some of my top bad manager traits, along with what I consider the opposite; what makes great managers and leaders.

Trait 1: Lack of authenticity

Unfortunately, there seems to be a sentiment, especially amongst new managers that they should talk, act, dress or behave in a certain way because they have the title of “Manager.” They think that their authority and/or effectiveness depends on fitting some kind of mold. So they try to put up some kind of act. Instead of just being truly and honestly who they really are and being completely honest and real with their teams, they try to play the “role” of manager.

Unfortunately, this just causes them to have a superficial, guarded relationship with their teams and they miss out on the real connection that builds strong teams. See how to become more authentic in my article titled Being Authentic: Why dropping the mask means more than you think.

Trait 2Lack of vision 

Most of us want to know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to work in a job doing something significant, something meaningful, something inspiring. The most successful leaders and managers that I have seen, all have clear, inspiring visions of something significant. They know where they’re going and they inspire the team to go with them on a journey that makes a difference to the world around them.

When our leaders and managers lack this kind of vision, it just becomes a dull, dead-end job where people clock in and out in mindless monotony. Who wants that? Do you want to become more visionary as a leader? Check out this article: Vision: The uncommon career and life accelerator.

Trait 3: Caring about career advancement more than people

Unfortunately, too many people go into management for the money, the status, the power, the title or the benefits. And once they get a taste of all that, they just want more and more of it, and it becomes a race for “Kingdom building” and for climbing the ladder to the top. In the process, the people in their teams just become “resources“ or pawns in a giant chess game for power.

By contrast, real leaders and managers care about every individual in their teams. They focus on their success, their growth and their development and they truly work as servant leaders to help every individual be successful.

What does success look like?

I believe that truly effective managers are servant leaders who truly care about the individuals on their teams. They Focus on mentoring, growing and developing their teams and the people in them. They focus on inspiring their teams with highly motivating visions and strategy. They focus on building a strong, inspiring culture of empowerment and collaboration. They focus on building an environment that makes people excited to come to work every day.

I have been very fortunate and humbled that every time I have switched positions to lead a new team, I have had several people follow me from team to team, wanting to work with me again. Many of these a second or third time. To me, there is no greater compliment as a manager or leader than having people follow you wherever you go.

We all spend way too much time at work to be working for bad managers in bad environments. My hope for you is that you would find a manager that motivates and inspires you in the ways I described above. My wish is that they create an environment where you are excited to come to work every day.

Heinrich Stander is a career coach for RocketFuel4Careers.com.

This column first appeared at Quora.