So, what if you asked: “Team, what’s the biggest obstacle you face in getting the job done?”
And in one of those rare moments of unbridled honesty, they replied with a resounding “You.”
Yes, you. Their manager.
As hard as it may be to accept, it’s quite likely that managers – people like us – are the major roadblock to our team’s success more often than we want to know or admit.
We certainly don’t mean to be. But it happens.
So how do we know? Here are 7 signs to watch for.
1) We Meddle
Managers know they need to be at the heart of things, fingers on the pulse, feeling the raw nerve of the operation. So what do some managers do?
They create roadblocks by staying too close to the work and interrupting too much.
Good people want to be left alone so they can get their job done.
While it’s perfectly advisable to stop by to boost morale and ask questions, be smart about it.
Show your interest, offer up advice, and move on.
Stay just close enough to monitor progress, but not disrupt.
2) We Meet
There are just way too many meetings with way too many people in attendance who want to share way too much information.
Meetings are expensive time killers. Remember, it’s outside the meeting where things actually get done.
Tip of the day: Send an email.
3) We Insist On CYA Reports
There is just no polite way to say this: Too many managers are adept at assembling an impenetrable wall of paper for the sole purpose of covering their butts.
There are just too many reports produced that include too much irrelevant detail that takes up too much time and energy.
Talk about a morale killer.
4) We Embrace Projects Over People
Repeat after me:
Body of knowledge. Change control. Deliverables. Effort management. Enterprise modeling. Linear schedule method. Mission creep. Process architecture. Resource leveling. Task analysis. Work stream.
These are the terms of modern project management that drive organizations – and people actually say this stuff, too.
But don’t get caught up in all the buzz language and remember:
People deliver projects, not vice versa.
5) We Make Promises For Others To Deliver On
Once upon a time there was a boss who promised almost anything to make a client happy. Of course, the actual grunt work to fulfill those promises fell to the employees.
Don’t be that person.
Giving all you got is great, as long as you are out there scrubbing the toilets hand-in-hand with your employees.
6) We Stifle Passion
Talented employees are passionate employees.
Yet far too often, busy managers prevent them from achieving great things because these managers are hamstrung by more mundane stuff, like process management and aggregate planning.
Providing opportunities for people to pursue their passions improves productivity and job satisfaction.
Did you know that passionate employees are significantly more productive than others?
It’s true, look it up.
7) We Say Lousy Stuff
Here are four things you don’t want to catch yourself saying:
- I don’t pay you to think
- If I wanted your opinion, I’d ask for it
- You are NOT the ONLY employee I have to manage!
And an all-around killer:
- If you don’t like this job, I’ll find someone who does.
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Chris Gerdes says
I enjoyed the read and hopefully I will be able to take some morsels to chew on and apply.
Rich Henson says
Thanks Chris! Glad you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to pass it along to other managers. — Rich