Sales and Leadership Insights

Stop Practicing “Mushroom Management”​ and Terminate Toxic Culture

Have you ever had a mushroom manager? They’re not only toxic to your culture, they’ll kill the morale of your employees and your organization from the inside out.

Many years and many careers ago, one of my coworkers told me his boss was a Mushroom Manager, and that’s a phrase that’s stuck with me to this day.

Mushroom Management is when you feed your employees crap, and you keep them in the dark. And now, more than ever, it’s the absolute WORST way you can manage your people, and yet many managers do it.

How can you avoid being a mushroom manager?

Don’t feed your team crap – Nobody likes to be lied to, and lies of omission are the worst – and the easiest to avoid. Tell them the truth, the good AND the bad, consistently. I talked with someone recently who walked into a performance conversation. thinking they were getting promoted and instead, THEY WERE FIRED! What a failure of leadership THAT was! That’s a huge lie of omission, and that person will likely take YEARS to trust a leader again.

Regular one-on-ones and team meetings need to happen regularly and consistently. Yes, employees can and should be managing up, but it is up to leaders to attend these meetings and report the news of what’s happening with the employee AND in the organization.

Share the light with EVERYONE on the team – Everyone on your team is a contributor. If they’re not, as a leader, that means YOU have failed. So if everyone is contributing, then you should share the light of success with EVERYONE – by spotlighting their specific contributions.

Unless you want fungus on your team, you need to stop the practice of mushroom management, and instead, be a leader people are excited to work for.

Part of the reason for the great reorganization of employees is due to this mushroom management, and because rewards and recognition are inconsistent and not truly tied to performance. In order to fix this, there are some simple yet important things leaders can do.

Recently I had the opportunity to share my experiences and insights on this with Tara Clancy on the Counterfeit Sleep podcast. You can listen to our conversation here or if you’re an Apple Podcast listener, you can listen here.

Want more modern selling essentials?

Sign up for Phil’s email newsletter to receive sales and leadership insights in your inbox.