“The productivity and competitive problems American manufactures face result from ineffective top management, petrified in place, unwilling to accept change, failing to provide vision and leadership.”
Not all leaders are managers, but all great managers are leaders. Great managers inspire those around them. They understand what it takes to succeed and they’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They also have a vision for their company and work hard to create a positive atmosphere where everyone is motivated to contribute to a common goal.
While it’s always nice to work under someone who exhibits these qualities on a daily basis, chances are you’ll remember those managers who didn’t fit this mold. While no one chooses to be an ineffective manager, sometimes managers lose touch with how to successfully incorporate leadership into their management.
Ineffective managers typically share some negative traits. However, those behaviors don’t have to be permanent; with some corrective measures, bad management can be turned around.
- Ineffective communication: The whole culture of a company can be shaped and crafted by a manager’s words, which means he or she better be a good communicator. When a manager is too focused on upper management tasks, communication with employees tends to suffer. This leaves employees guessing about the company’s objectives and, even worse, doubting the manager’s credentials and commitment to the job. Communication is the lifeblood of any company. Whether it’s in front of a crowd or one-on-one with an employee, a good manager recognizes the power of communication and works hard to hone this skill.
- Showing favoritism: Giving too much attention to some people while ignoring others is a recipe for disaster. Those who are overlooked will feel resentment toward the ineffective manager, and the situation will have a negative impact on their work performance. A good manager understands that his or her presence can often serve as a motivator for every employee. Just a few minutes a day can help employees feel important and allow them to voice their concerns and share their thoughts about the job.
- Making bad hires: Making poor hiring decisions can have a lasting effect on the company’s bottom line, forcing other workers to pick up the slack. No one can have a 100% success rate with new hires, but a good rule of thumb is to hire motivated people with an eagerness to learn. If a manager hires the wrong person, he or she needs to step up and fix the problem, which may mean severing the relationship and moving on. Every manager makes mistakes, but dealing with these mistakes sets the great ones apart as leaders.
- Being overly authoritative: Managers are put in charge because they’ve earned the opportunity to make the company’s important decisions. But that power also brings much responsibility. Ruling with an iron fist can cause employees to become resentful and unproductive. Good managers try to remain as flexible as possible, giving employees the latitude to perform their job in their own way. Instead of using a management position as a means of exerting power, use it as an opportunity to understand that no two people are exactly alike.
- Becoming arrogant: A corner office. A large salary with generous stock options. A private parking space with a nice shiny sports car. The perks of being put in a management role can be enough to make anyone become big-headed. As the boss, others might be afraid to point out your flaws and shortcomings, so managers need to be extra careful not to fall into this trap. A good manager realizes that staying humble is important when building relationships with employees.
- Not acknowledging success: Praise improves morale and gives workers the motivation to strive to be more productive. Few things are more appreciated than a kind word from the person in charge. Too often, ineffective managers isolate themselves from employees and spend their time only with other upper management. Effective managers appreciate the hard work of their employees and make every effort to let them know when they’ve gone above and beyond. It’s a simple gesture that can have lasting effects and create a culture of good will.
- Lack of company vision: Managers aren’t put in charge to keep the status quo. They are expected to be visionaries who can capitalize on the changing business climate. Managers who are overly complacent tend to stifle creativity, miss opportunities and lose market share to competitors. Companies need to remain nimble and innovative to stay relevant, while constantly adjusting the way they do business. A good manager recognizes this and encourages forward-thinking approaches to meet the demands of tomorrow.
Having a management role within a company has its rewards—and it also brings heavy responsibility. Great managers should also be great leaders and be able to step back and evaluate their performance to make sure they are doing their part to create a company culture that motivates, encourages and rewards employees who contribute to the bottom line.