Too many managers ask if they really make a difference in the overall success of the business. They do not fully understand the impact they have on people’s mental well-being. Just think back to when you were an hourly employee driving in for your shift and wondering which manager was working. You knew the whole shift’s mood depended on who was at the helm. Certainly, your own experience proves the impact you have on your staff. Give yourself the credit you deserve. You make a difference! Now give your staff what they deserve. Go make a positive difference!

Here Are The Poor Leadership Behaviors That Will Take You Down!

The Complaining Manager

Is this you with your staff?

Ugh, I close again and have to work the next ten days

I wish I made as much money as you…it must be nice making all that cash and being done so early

Corporate is making us and it is going to suck

All the guests are so stupid….can you believe they asked that

Everything that can go wrong happens on my shifts

My boss opens every day and I always have to close

I guess I’ll just go to the office and write another schedule that you’ll all complain about

Stop the madness! You chose to be a manager. They chose to be an employee. You have responsibilities that come along with that title and one of them is not complaining to your staff. Why should they be burdened with your issues? How can you teach them to get better when you set such a poor example?

Most certainly, you will have frustrations in your leadership role. If you must complain, then do it up or laterally but never down! Complaining has a way of magnifiying problems and making them unbearable, especially for someone who has no power to change the outcome. Legitimate complaints need to be formulized and communicated to your boss so you can move forward.

If you need an ear to vent, find a lateral co-worker who has a different POV. If you bitch to someone who completely agrees with you, good luck. That is the kiss of death in negative management patterns. It allows you to complain without coming up with any solutions. 

The Lazy Manager

We all have worked with the person who doesn’t participate in the shift and are either unaware or don’t care that everyone else did the work. They secretly think they are getting away with something. I worked for this boss too many times and am now grateful for these terrible managers. You heard me…. grateful for working with some lazy SOBS! 🙏🏻 It taught me how to be the boss without being the boss. Ultimately, it is very freeing when you realize that nobody is coming to save you. If you want things to get better, you will need to be that change.

You are the lazy one if you:

Run away from tasks at a manager meeting

Hide from physical work in the name of, I’m the manager and it set a bad tone if I am the laborer

Never cleaned up puke or (I know gross) feces and made the dishwasher do it

Have never taken out your own garbage in the office or had to clear your own plate after staff meal

Feel ecstatic when you don’t have to put in any hard work

Waste time in the office hoping for the hours to pass

You are the lazy one and everybody knows it! So now what?

The Emotional Manager

People have too much going on in their own lives to put up with a leader who is inconsistent or needy in their emotional maturity. However, age does not define your emotional maturity, nor is it fixed for your entire management career. We can look back on past decisions and realize that now after having more information, we would do it differently.

Things are going to happen in your outside life that effect how you show up to work. Everyone understands that leaders have off days. It is not your job to be perfect. Your job is to be honest with your emotional state while meeting the business needs. Have the humility to ask for space when you need it so things do not bubble out of control later down the line.

When you accept the management position, you make a commitment to your team. A big part of your role is creating a consistent employee experience from day to day so they can take care of the guest without navigating the minefield of an unhinged manager.

The Sleazy Manager

Well, gross stop it! If you are dating your staff “but they wanted to” you still fit in this category (sorry guys)…. I have worked with a lot of sleazy managers, both male and female, so I know the sleaze cuts both ways.

The restaurant industry is known for it’s endless romantic escapades. I get it. We are a fun bunch of people, working in tight quarters, under high stress and it is easy to become close. According to recent studies, the hospitality industry ranks higher than most industries for managers sleeping with subordinates. Correspondingly, we also rank high in our tolerance for it. Men are 32% more likely to think there is no problem with bosses sleeping with their employees. I find that to be problematic! Legally, none of us can afford a sexual harassment lawsuit. More importantly, from a culture standpoint, bosses who sleep with their staff create toxic work environments. Period!

An underperforming manager once ask me for advice. He said, “Well, I have seen so and so do it and somehow I am getting in trouble for doing the same thing. Why?” I get how that must be confusing to guys. Why can some people get away with it and others can’t?

I’ve had managers say super inappropriate stuff to me, but it didn’t bother me in the least. I liked them…no, not like that but as humans. If you are likeable, you can get away with murder. Is that fair? Well, no, but it is human nature. If you struggle to connect naturally on things with people, you have no wiggle room when it comes to being sexual.

The Power-Hungry Manager

This style of manager is my personal nemesis. I can understand how the other 6 bad leadership behaviors rear their ugly head for operators at times, but I cannot see into the psyche of the power-hungry manager.

“Being a leader is like being a lady, if you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren’t.”Margaret Thatcher

You earn your title and not the other way around. If you go around barking orders and nobody complies or they do begrudgingly, you are not their leader. People will follow a leader who gives them a vision and has the chops to show them what that vision means.

You have the power gene if you:

Won’t cut the floor because an employee mentioned it might be a good idea

Hide the guests’ payment because the server didn’t pick it up before the guests left

Flip your keys around so everyone knows you are the manager

Drink from an open container even though it’s against your standards

Check your phone incessantly for personal reasons when nobody else is allowed

You find yourself saying “Cause I’m the manager”

Enjoying the employee incentives cause it’s my beer rep anyways

The Incompetent Manager

Leadership requires humilty. You need to understand that you don’t have all the answers and the appreciation that your team as a whole probably does. If you don’t know, stop faking it. Everyone else is fully aware that you don’t have a clue. Managers start jobs and aren’t willing to say, hey can you show me how you do that here? Wait, I didn’t quite catch that, can you show me again? Time goes by, they hide their weaknesses out of fear, and in the end employees, guests, and your business suffer.

The staff knows you can turn on or off a printer location, they are sure you can move the location positions on the POS, and they definitlely desire a schedule to be posted on time without any mistakes. Believe me, they know! Aren’t sure how to do something? Well figure it out.

Take a quick assessment by looking at the top ten habits of incompetent managers.

I too learned this the hard way. My barback called out sick on a busy night and I went to check on the bartender who was getting crushed. I said like a good helpful manager, what can I do to help? He said, “The keg just blew, can you go and change it?” My heart sunk into my belly. I had worked in the industry for years at this point, but I had never had to change my own keg. Call it sexist. Call it lazy but holy shit, I didn’t know how to change a keg! He saw the fear in my eyes and then said, “It’s okay. Can you jump back here and make these drinks and I’ll go change the keg?” As he pointed to several tickets of specialty drinks, I thought f**k, I don’t know how to do that either.

I was 25 and vowed right there and then that I needed to do a better job at training myself. It is easy to blame it on your boss or the training program but if you can get past the “nobody is developing me bullshit”, you have the chance to self determine into the kind of leader you want to become.

Your development is for you and you need to be the one driving it!

The Non-Communicative Manager

It is imperative that you say hello and gooodbye at a minimum to every staff member every day. Make your rounds and put in the time when it counts. Rapport building needs to be an authentic daily occurrence and not penned in on a calendar. You are a human. They are a human. You can’t fake rapport when you need it, you must earn it with each staff member. The experts all agree, if you want to take your team to the next level, it starts with rapport.

We gravitate towards people we naturally like and see eye to eye with. This is one of the great perks of the restaurant industry. Mass amounts of social interaction. When we must coach and counsel staff, the ones that we have natural rapport with seem to go flawlessly. We have them on our side before we get into the issue and it makes coaching a breeze. On the other hand, if we have no rapport built, the starting spot-on coaching is in the dirt. Spend more time with the people you don’t naturally gravitate towards, the people you don’t always get along with.

Lastly, don’t ever run out the back door during a busy shift because you get to leave early. Stop by and check in with people, I’m leaving for the night, do you need anything? People understand that there are openers and closers for managers. You won’t feel guilty leaving if you have put in your time and done everything you could for the team. It drives me crazy when you wonder where Manager A is and you hear staff say, oh they probably bolted out the back. It’s an integrity thing. You look your people in the eye, thank them, and let them know who is still on the floor if they need help.

Getting better is our life long challenge…it is never too late and you are never done!


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