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8 Signs of Failing Managers (Part 1!)

Effective managers do more than supervise employees. They take responsibility for ensuring that an individual succeeds, and that the team, department, or business unit achieves expected results. Effective managers are like successful coaches who develop teams that win championships year after year. Companies that are most successful are those that are most proactive when it comes to developing and managing talent within their organisations and over the years we’ve identified clear indicators of incompetent managers:-

1. Poor Communicators

The problem with communication is the illusion it has been accomplished! Communication is a two way street and some managers are great at talking but not at listening. Instead of communicating clearly whether that’s verbally in writing or indeed when using body language poor communicators often work in a vacuum. They neglect opportunities to listen to colleagues, subordinates, customers, or suppliers –even when the issue has a significant impact on these very same people. They don’t try to understand other people’s positions and are quick to dismiss other points of view.

Negative body language or hogging a conversation discourages others from sharing ideas or raising issues. Poor writing skills and lack of preparation can make poor communicators come across as disorganised, insecure or lacking in confidence or just plain arrogant.

2. Weak Leadership Characteristics

Weak leaders are afraid to be candid, often they are not even honest to themselves. It’s tough to speak inconvenient truths and get done what needs to be done. No one likes to be criticised but that honesty is what makes great organisations and that environment requires good leaders. Poor leaders fail to instil trust or give direction. They fail to keep confidences, don’t respond honestly and often lack integrity. Other signs are the failure to clarify each team member’s responsibilities and the failure to make sure responsibilities are fairly distributed.

Poor leaders are often insecure and reluctant to give up control for fear of being shown up. Or they want to keep others down as opposed to building them up. We’ve observed weak leaders who delegate without considering other people’s capabilities, interests or development need, and we’ve seen those who micromanage, frequently “hovering” over their people, sapping creativity and motivation

3. Unable Or Unwilling To Change

The only constant is change (it has been said) and whilst it’s not easy and is sometimes uncomfortable it has to be accomplished. However effective managers know how to handle it. They can adjust to new circumstances. When things are ambiguous, they remain comfortable. In a crisis, they seek solutions. The trick is to keep a clear head, manage expectations and enable change. Strong managers are change agents. Those who can’t handle change:-
Panic when faced with unexpected problems
Get stuck in ‘reactive mode’ and don’t anticipate and plan forward
Lose perspective about the importance of an issue
Don’t think creatively when problem solving and
Are risk averse to the point of fault – won’t experiment or bring a fresh perspective.

4. Poor Relationship Builders

Relationships require some work (at home or at work -self evident?) For example, good communication is a cornerstone of a healthy, productive relationship. So are trust and respect. Good relationship builders respect people’s differences; they’re tolerant. They praise more than they criticize. And when they do criticize they focus on the behaviour, not the people. They’re always careful not to embarrass other people. And they say what needs to be said –even when it’s uncomfortable to say it. However poor relationship builders
Fail to respect or value other people
Don’t appreciate the impact of what they say on others
Criticise people instead of people’s behaviour
Don’t regulate their emotions – especially when stressed!
Rarely facilitate team success -they tend to ignore conflict between co-workers, or they rush to judgment before listening carefully to all viewpoints in a disagreement

Anything sounding familiar yet? And there’s more! Part two will look at another four tell tale signs and what the remedies are.

… [ part 2 ]

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© Chris Ball April 2010



News title: -    8 Signs of Failing Managers (Part 1!)
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MBA Associates Limited

MBA Associates Ltd is a specialist consultancy that partners clients to Recruit, Retain and Develop Top Performing Teams. Using sophisticated and proven methods that are different to the usual recruitment agency MBA has an enviable track record of Job Matching with currently over 76% of candidates recruited are retained after one year (statistics from Harvard Business review show 14% success rate is average on CV alone!)

Chris Ball is a Director of MBA and a member of the Institute of Business Consulting www.ibconsulting.org.uk

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