Who wants a weak manager for a boss? Who believes a weak manager will step up and do the right thing when the going gets tough? Who thinks a weak manager is capable of looking out for the team and really having employees’ backs?

The answer, of course, is nobody. Nobody wants to work for a weak boss because they will probably fail at all of those things, and their teams will be left to fend for themselves.

No manager wants to look weak. And yet when weak managers attempt to look strong, they end up showing how truly weak they are.

What are the biggest “tells” that signals to your team that you are a weak-kneed weenie? It’s when you say or do things that expose your insecurities:

“You need to show some respect.”

“Do you know what my title is?”

“You’re lucky to have this job.”

“Do I need to remind you who’s in charge?”

If you hear yourself saying any of these things, you’re prancing around with your insecurities on full display. And though your intent was to look tough, you’ve done the opposite.

Your employees don’t need to show you respect, you need to earn it.

Of course your team members know what your title is, but they follow leaders, not org charts.

Are they really lucky to have this job? Or are you lucky that they put up with it when you say crap like this?

And if you have to remind everyone who’s in charge, it’s obviously not you.

Confident, secure managers earn respect by being good communicators and by keeping their egos in check. Their teams follow them because confident managers demonstrate that they have the skills, the right focus on the job and the integrity to lead. They earn the trust of their teams by being open, by sharing credit with the team, by being consistently honest.

By contrast, dick managers let their egos get in the way, which throws their priorities out of whack, allows them to neglect and mistreat their people and makes them greedy with credit, even when that credit rightfully belongs to the whole team.

All of those are also insecurity “tells.” Only insecure managers are so hungry for approval and credit that they put themselves ahead of the job and the team.

How does one avoid all these weakness-exposing pitfalls? There’s only one way to look like a good manager, and that’s to be one. Do the hard work of becoming a good manager and you won’t have to worry about whether the things you say and do make you look weak.

To learn more about how to be a successful manager, read Don’t Be a Dick Manager: The Down & Dirty Guide to Management. It’s the management training you never got, available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.com. The audiobook is available from AmazonAudible and iTunes.

Do you think you might be a dick manager? Take the quiz!

“Respect” by haynie.thomas36 is licensed under CC BY 2.0