18ix9lib2d8s5jpg As a new business owner, I completed a thorough checklist of what I needed to start, grow and maintain my business.

I micromanaged every detail of my build out, from plywood texture to light bulbs. I developed my own expense reports and determined my hours of operation before completing my business plan. I was diligent, or so I thought.

I thought of everything, except… what kind of manager would I be to myself?

17 years ago, I started my first professional job. I landed a role most people envied.  I became a city employee (laughing). There was no formal training or introductions. I was given a start date, a dusty desk with a nonworking telephone and handed a stack of timecards that needed to be corrected.

I was indifferent about the lack luster environment. I was looking forward to having a regular paycheck and knew all of the implications of  securing a city job.

Buried in Family Law homework I spent most of my afternoons preparing for class, without a word from my immediate supervisor (city veteran). I spent the next four years  picking up bad habits without redirection or reprimand. I completed a Bachelors degree and was half way through a trade program. I didn’t know it then, but I mistook my supervisors leadership style as being part of my support system.


Six years after my start date I left the city and transitioned into the private sector.

Theres no flex time? You can’t sleep at your desk? Isn’t it my desk? Leaving early is job abandonment? My thoughts as I read through the employee  policy manual. It might as well had been the constitution. I needed to restructure my thinking really fast, or I would be unemployed.

Two years later I became a Director  and thought of the work needed to condition my new hires assuming they came from the same environment that groomed my initial work habits. After a decade of management, I understood how to coach and guide others… that is, until I became my own boss.

Excited at the thought of having no rules I opened my new business in 2013 boasting about my flexible schedule. Acting this out with two hour lunch breaks and early closures during inclement weather conditions.

That is, until I received a visit for the Department of Consumer Affairs in September 2013. Relieved that all standards were met, despite being unaware that DOCA was an authority over every registered business in New York City. The reality was, I was my own boss, but I was still responsible for answering to others.

The State Licensing Department, Consumer Affairs and more importantly my customers.

Through my participation in ongoing professional coaching, I also discovered that my apprehension to hire employees was not related to Cost of Labor but avoiding an eyewitness to my regression.

Sure the books are in order and the taxes are paid, but coming in at 8am every morning doesnt balance the early departure times on slow days. I have business hours and I needed to stick to them.

The walls were up, but I was still under construction.

It is now six months after a self assessment of my boss. She arrives early and leaves on time. Lunch hours are just that, an hour; and expectations are in order. My boss isn’t perfect, but she is no longer a Mis-Manager.


Some helpful hints that you are a Mis-Manager

  1. You deal with issues emotionally rather than objectively
  2. You dont have regular face to face supervision with your direct reports.  3.
  3. You discuss your personal life with your direct reports.
  4. You take credit for the work of others.
  5. You reprimand your charges only after being told to do so by your supervisor.
  6. There is a high turnover rate with employees in your cluster.
  7. You micromanage instead of coaching.
  8. You repeat information discussed with your staff to other line workers. 9.
  9. You promote employees beyond their skill set.
  10. Staff meetings are irregular or nonexistent.

Some helpful hints that you report to a Mis-Manager

  1. Stay organized… Mis-Managers don’t.  When something goes down and you need to prove your innocence, (because emotional Mis-Manager has already thrown you under the bus and found you guilty), you will have the evidence to support your claim.
  2. Keep a policy manual within your reach.  Although Mis-Managers often have seniority, they dont know all the rules.
  3. Dont commit to working beyond the scope of practice or job description.
  4. Arrive to work in a timely manner. Tardiness can be the deciding factor for a promotion, reprimand or a satisfactory evaluation.
  5. Keep your personal business at home. The information you share publicly can be used as a wild card with a Mis-Manager.
  6. Request regular supervision. Mis-Managers often miss appointments. Document their absences.
  7. Dont criticize your supervisor. This can be perceived as insubordination.
  8. Use the Human Resources department as your professional reference when applying out. Mis-Managers have a way of becoming disgruntled once they discover that a good employee is leaving the nest.
  9. Stay neutral. Mis Managers tend to create subgroups. The nay sayers and the supporters. Dont identify with either.
  10. Understand and master diplomacy.

Join the Conversation


  1. I absolutely understand where you are coming from. My husband and I have completely different management styles: I believe in giving people autonomy and not sweating the small stuff. Chris is a stickler for “working hard,” I am about “working smart.” I am controlling and he loves delegating. While we both are the type to get the job done, our methods vary just as our management styles do. It’s crazy, I am still working it out, but at least you reflected and have been able to correct your ways. Great post!

    1. Thanks Charisse. You and Chris do a great job as a team! I truly believe that business owners need to adopt several management styles,depending on the day…circumstance. Either way its not easy. A wrong move or assessment can affect your revenue.

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