The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Managers

By Barry Maher

As a consultant, a speaker and a trainer, I’ve hired, trained and worked with managers at every level of management. The best of them have taught me most of whatever it is I know about business. The worst have also been a learning experience. But while the best managers cover virtually every personality type imaginable, the worst—the very worst—seem to have a number of characteristics in common. With apologies to Steven Covey, I offer this completely unscientific compilation of those traits, The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Managers.

1)  They rely on other people for their thinking. Whatever the idea of the moment happens to be, that’s what they believe. They’re not only up on all the latest clichés and buzzwords, they pride themselves on it.2)  No matter how much they may prattle on about openness, inclusiveness, innovative thinking and tolerance, they insist upon conformity. And obedience.3)  Like a cheap politician, they never miss an opportunity to talk about their leadership skills, figuring that if they proclaim that they’re leaders frequently enough, someone might actually follow them. True leadership, on the other hand, means never have to tell someone you’re a leader.4)  They believe their own BS. Or desperately try to.

5)  They’d take credit for the sunrise, if they thought they could get anyone to believe it. They’re certain they’re responsible for anything their people might accomplish—though failures, mistakes and screw-ups are obviously someone else’s fault.

6)  They’re sure their own successes are the result of their superiority and/or their favor in the eyes of God. Other people are lucky, started with silver spoons hanging out of various orifices, or just butt kissed their way to the top.

7)  On the subject of butts, in spite of all their constant claims to the contrary, their actions are guided by the one overriding commandment of their universe: To Thine Own Butt Be True. They cover theirs, whatever the cost. Though the cost is usually born by someone else.

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