Most of us have to listen to a lot of things we do not agree wit, and by the time you reach a certain age, you have probably got so used to it that you take it in your stride.  Well, there are still three things that really make me see red, because I just know they are not true, and they are strong indications of a bad manager.

1.  “It couldn’t happen here!” This is only rarely true.  It might just be that the speaker has got such good risk controls in place that the thing in question really could not happen in his company, but guess what, it usually means he has nothing in place and is relying on luck.  His business plan looks like a pair of dice!

2. “I can’t afford it!”  This obviously is often true in the domestic situation where a person’s budget is so stretched they cannot afford anything more.  But when you are talking to a businessman about something that would benefit his business, the question is whether the likely gains outweigh the expected costs.  There are often times when they clearly do, but the businessman does not want to try it.  This can be true where the thing he cannot afford would pay for itself in a short time, or would significantly reduce a big risk.

3. “There’s nothing I can do about it!”  This usually means the speaker cannot be bothered to do anything.  Such as a high level of industrial accidents, or bullying or discrimination in the workplace.  He might not have a magic wand, but there is always something you can do.

The thing these three statements have in common is that they show a lack of imagination on the part of the speaker.  That is not  a good thing in a manager.