It makes no difference if you are running a company, division, department or project team … you are the leader and, of course, your goal is to be as effective as you can be in order to get the job done with maximized success. It’s what your organization expects of you, what you expect of yourself and what those you are charged with leading hope you will provide. And yet, managing is comprised of doing things the right or wrong way and that clearly impacts the ultimate success you achieve. It’s the learner within that allows us to excel in our role.
I don’t believe there is any course, workshop or book we can read that will enable us to be the ‘perfect’ manager. And when we are given the leadership role, it is often because we demonstrate certain qualities that the ‘bosses’ believe will enable us to be effective. So that’s a good starting place.
I came upon a recent article by Christopher Tammearu in which he identifies several common, counterproductive mistakes made by managers. I believe that he hits upon issues that, to the extent we can avoid them, will enhance our overall effectiveness. Here they are in summary
- Having a false sense of respect, admiration and/or appreciation
One key element of being a successful leader is our ability to earn the respect of those we lead. Who among us is inclined to give 110% to a boss we don’t respect? And if, as a leader, we can’t earn that respect we will never tap into their full potential and thus we won’t be able to excel together.
Suggested solution: Lead from the front. Don’t hide in the office behind other duties and conference calls and join the team in the trenches when times are rough.
- Conducting Pointless and Poorly Planned Meetings
There is no such thing as having too many meetings as long as they are properly scheduled, structures, organized and interactive with participants. As an effective manager it is our responsibility to decipher information into content relative to our team and project and then deliver it effectively without wasting time or resources. Just having a meeting without clear purpose or need subjects us as leaders to mockery and thus, discredits us. In turn, this leads to a lack of respect and hurts our ability to reach our objectives as a team.
Suggested solution: Not all information requires a meeting. Ask ourselves as a manager … can this be summed up and sent in an email. All participants should know ahead of any meeting time … when, where, duration, relevance and topic(s) of discussion.
- Being an “Intimidating Boss”
Tammearu indicates that 3 out of every 4 employees in the U.S. are open to new job opportunities and are actively testing the job market. This is especially true today when unemployment is at its’ current low level. The intimidating boss actually believes that employees should be grateful to have a job and would do anything to keep it. That manager doesn’t understand the true cost associated with aimless firing and provoking cause for someone to quit (the cost of which is estimated to 150% of that person’s salary).
Suggested solution: Cultivate a positive work environment that thrives on appreciation and teamwork. Acknowledging team members and showing appreciation for the life-blood of your group for if it wasn’t vital it wouldn’t exist.
- Giving Up
Tammereau identifies this as probably the most common mistake made in management today … giving up on the team/group as a whole or on select individuals, giving up on the goals, the customer or making a difference. Managing is not easy and we accepted the responsibility of leading when we accepted the job.
Suggested Solution: Rather than thinking ‘what’s the point, we need to be thinking what I could do differently? Giving up on anything related to our job as leader will show and if we aren’t firing on all cylinders … neither will our team.
I don’t expect that anyone reading this will argue with the importance of being the most effective leader in order to achieve the most effective and desired outcomes. Numerous books and articles are written by the experts that support the belief that the very best leaders consider themselves to be ongoing learners. And it’s not just learning from the books, the courses or the bosses … it’s also learning from those we lead. We are put into leadership positions for many reasons however one of them is not because we have all the answers and know more than anyone we lead. What is necessary is our ability to be vulnerable and open to what we can learn and do better tomorrow.