Is your boss an accidental executive?

Is your boss an accidental executive?

Bad managers are everywhere. They’re the type that makes good employees leave their company for organisations that have better use for their talent; they squander resources, misuse talent and do not hit their targets. More often than not, this manager may have been promoted to the wrong position.

We call these leaders “accidental executives”, or employees promoted into managerial positions unexpectedly and without proper training. A majority of employees in the UK may be working for one, as only 27% view their managers in high regard, according to a recent CMI and YouGov study. In this article, we’ll look into how these bad managers behave and why it is important that companies hire the right people for the role.

6 tell-tale signs that your boss may not be fit for the role

How can you tell if your manager is actually an accidental executive? They should give off the following signals:

  1. Your boss doesn’t really know you.
    Bad managers don’t make the effort to understand their people and learn about their strengths and capabilities. As such, they can’t effectively delegate tasks, tend to assign the wrong roles and fail to achieve their goals.
  1. You don’t have their trust.
    You know this is the case when a manager tends to micromanage their team and only sees work from their point of view. The result is an overbearing boss who’s too busy managing every minute detail to be productive.
  1. They can’t adjust to a hybrid workplace.
    Having the ability and right to work remotely is the new workplace norm. Distrustful managers can’t navigate the complexities of hybrid work and may not be able to properly perform their role in the physical absence of their employees.
  1. They don’t stick up for their team.
    Bad managers would rather have their employees take the brunt of negative feedback from the leadership and would rather just please their higher-ups. Rather, they should take the role of a mediator who brokers a relationship between their superiors and their team.
  1. They don’t give constructive criticism.
    Incompetent managers don’t just fail to take responsibility for criticism; they also tend to be unable to provide honest feedback to their people. Conversely, they can’t provide constructive criticism and are prone to bullying and underestimating their subordinates.
  1. They don’t grow.
    While good managers may exhibit some of the behaviour we’ve detailed above, they tend to simply outgrow those bad habits and become better versions of themselves. However, the bad ones really don’t evolve; they think so highly of themselves that they believe they’re doing the right thing, regardless of the results.


Good managers are products of years of experience, innate managerial talent, and preparation and training. They may be groomed for the role or hand-picked among the most competent members of their team. These people have the ability to lead their team to greater heights and deliver results that their company craves – definitely not those who merely stumbled upon the role out of luck, convenience or thanks to their intra-company network.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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