I have come across many different administrators in my long professional life. Two types come especially to mind when I think about bad administrators. Both of them consist of the characteristics of several administrators that I have served under.
The first one is a passive administrator who possesses fine scientific experience, good education, has written several papers and has worked in many parts of the world. Despite an impressive CV and an outstanding career, this very same administrator seems to be engulfed by a minority complex and insecurity. He stays invisible, locking himself in his office and seeking solitude from his colleagues. The period of locked doors was used to describe him whereas his predecessor emphasized always being visible. This difference in the management style was therefore particularly striking.
This administrator suffered from decision phobia and tried constantly to postpone everything “…until tomorrow”. He had no compassion for others and any notion or understanding of what a bad administrator he really was. His immediate subordinates were constantly occupied in protecting him against any kind of stimulus, as he did not want to shoulder any administrative responsibilities. This administrator was literally surrounded by chaos due to the absence of workplace strategies and organization. The middle subordinates had free hands and every decision making was highly coincidental. This in turn led to the workplace being inoperable and was instead run as a cluster of small duchies with small kings ruling without any collaboration whatsoever.
The other administrator was totally the opposition of the aforementioned one. His education was rather poor and his work experience was unilateral. He had become an administrator by coincidence. He was very insecure and worried about his position, namely about someone possibly overriding. This man reigned with terror characterized by him opposing others flourishing or succeeding in his presence. In many ways he was an efficient administrator in favor of the relevant institution, whereas others had to obey him to the fullest or leave the institution. There was never any option allowed for dialogue or an exchange of views as he deemed this to be beneath his dignity.
These two administrators were certainly different in their mannerisms and work. One was passive and invisible while the other was very active and visible. Their respective subordinates never got the impression that they were significant or a necessary part of a complex chain. It may be said that both exercised arrogant management that was characterized by their lack of communication with their subordinates. In both instances the interaction was on the premises of the relevant administrator which the employee were forced to adhere to.
What characterizes a bad administrator?
They have no comprehension about their competence or lack thereof.
They do not see the negative impact they have when working with others or how this affects the achievements and performance of the undertaking.
They blame others when things go badly.
They have absolutely no conception of how they appear to others.
They have no sympathy with others.
Frequently the immediate subordinates’ duty is to shield others from the problems at the top.
Rule of terror; no one dares to say anything.
Sometimes it appears as if the undertaking deems it in its interest to maintain the bad administrator because the performance of the entity may be good even though the personnel feel badly about him.