Management or Market? A question that is always on the thinking MD’s mind and given that the market isn’t going to ‘save’ anyone (at least for a few years!) it has to be more important than ever to identify failing managers. Part 1 of this article looked at poor comminucators, weak leaders, those that could not change as well as the poor relationship builders and identified the tell tale indicators of failing management rather than difficult market. What else tells you you have a management problem?
1. Ineffective Task Managers
When everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. Effective task managers know how to establish priorities and make sure work gets done! They know how to say “No!” to activities that will divert them from priorities. They can see the big picture and break it down into specific tasks required to complete a project. They are skilled at assessing their resources, allotting time and materials. Everything is not equally important. Poor task managers:-
Don’t ask for help when they need it
Procrastinate especially when a big project is at hand, they become overwhelmed
Work carelessly, accept sloppy work and set a bad example
Deming observed 85% of all operational failures were the fault of fallible managers not failing workers.
2. Insufficient Production
Is your manager on track to achieve the results you expect and require? Insufficient production can have myriad causes. It could be a simple lack of resources or funding; it could be unrealistic expectations. Some managers lack the technical knowledge to ensure that production demands are met. And, of course, some people just seem to have a bias against taking action. They lack a sense of urgency and won’t take initiative, even on matters that are critical to the organisation. They take a “wait and see” attitude when they should be taking concrete action. These managers:-
Find every reason why something cannot be done, they are fearful and won’t take action
Waffle and remain indecisive
Are not clear about what needs to be done, they are easily distracted unreliable erratic and may lack the will to overcome obstacles.
3. Poor Developer Of Others
Just like relationship building, developing other people’s talents is an art –one at which not everyone is adept. Developing others can be hard work. Not everyone is naturally capable of delivering constructive criticism. Nor is everyone observant enough to make note of another person’s habits, including the habits that need to change. Being a role model or a mentor takes commitment. Unfortunately, not all role models and mentors recognize that. They think their protégés will simply observe and learn. But the fact is, developing skills and talents in others takes much more than just showing up. Poor developers:-
Don’t make learning opportunities available
Disregard the goals and aspirations of their team members
Seem more intent on criticism and breaking down people than building them up
Have a negative impact on the work environment as a result of their pessimism and lack of enthusiasm
4. Mangers Who Don’t Develop Themselves
It sounds reasonable enough to expect a manager to develop in themselves but we’ve observed many managers who fail to develop their own communication styles, organisational skills or work habits. They might claim that they’re committed to the organisation or the team, but unless they’re willing to continually improve their own skills and talents, how will they ever recognize how important personal development is for the whole team? These managers:-
Don’t build enthusiasm
Give up easily
Have a negative attitude and are often defensive when criticised
Have a low level of self awareness
Don’t learn from mistakes
Don’t stay current on important developments in their field
With the symptoms we’ve just identified in mind, would you say there is a degree of incompetent management within your organisation? If so, here’s a strategy for handling it:
Determine if the individual has what it takes to be a manager. That involves a thorough assessment of his or her behaviours and interests.
If yes, you should try to help them become aware of their weaknesses. Honest, straight-forward feedback from peers, superiors, and subordinates can help open people’s eyes by revealing how others see them. But don’t stop with feedback –use it to create a targeted development plan to address specific needs.
If no, then determine how they can best serve the organization. Some incompetent sales managers never should have been promoted from sales. In other disciplines as well, there are practitioners who, based on their performances, are promoted to management. But not everyone has the skills and talent to manage.
… [ part 1 ]
At MBA we partner clients to do just this, help them develop Top Performing Teams and it goes without saying that Top Performing Teams are led by Top Performing Managers.
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© Chris Ball April 2010