On Management

In management, the ultimate measure of management's performance is the metric of management effectiveness, which includes:

Execution: how well management's plans were carried out by members of the organization

Leadership: how effectively management communicated and translated the vision and strategy of the organization to the members

Delegation: how well management gave assignments and communicated instructions to members of the organization

Return on investment: how well management utilized the resources (financial, physical, and human) of the organization to bring an acceptable return to shareholders

Given the importance of management roles within an organization, when the incumbents in such roles lack certain key competencies, havoc can be the result. Here are some common and potentially damaging shortfalls:

Poor communicator - The manager that has difficulty expressing himself can leave his subordinates confused.

Aloof - The manager that keeps to herself may seem cold and uncaring to her subordinates.

Inconsistent - Says one thing, then does another.

Cowardice - Has a poor performer but won't confront him/her for fear of conflict.

Dereliction of Duty - Has a poor performer but gives him/her a good performance review as a way of facilitating the employee's movement to another department.

Self-centered - The manager whose self-interest comes first will appear selfish to his subordinates. A variation on this is the manager whose chief drive is to curry favor with senior managers at levels above him in the organization. His subordinates are likely to view this as brown-nosing.

Secretive - While some information cannot be released at certain times, the manager who is habitually secretive keeps her people in the dark. This will not engender trust.

Focused on minutiae - Although the details are important, some managers fall into trap of micro-management which can drive subordinates crazy.

Focused on appearances - When a manager places undue emphasis on sprucing up the office, more important priorities can slip.

Focused on short-term - The manager who is not strategic in his focus can fall victim to the demands of the moment. This fire-fighting style might be appropriate at a crunch time but can be demoralizing when it becomes the manager's norm.

Inflexible - While, as a general rule, policies and procedures should be followed, the manager who refuses to be flexible may be viewed as insensitive to the needs of others.

As bad as these bosses can be, perhaps two of the worst cases are:

Harassment - The manager who crosses the line into illegal harassment, whether sexual or not, has created a hostile work environment.

Malice - This is the manager who, for some reason, sets out to make his subordinate's life miserable. This may, in some cases, be the run-up to a planned termination.


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