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Weak Managers

April 21, 2016

A previous blog (on Apr 7) talked about alignment and placed most of the blame on weak management.  Here some ways to overcome weak managers and some ways for managers to lose some of their weakness.

What staff can do:

  1. If you are that good, you should be able to get another job where your talents and ability will be better appreciated and utilized
  2. Work around the managers – do your job as you see it not waiting for a go-ahead with new projects.  I have found that while many managers will delay a decision until they feel the job can be done “perfectly,” they have a different standard for something already done. They might not like how it was done, but since it is in the past, it is accepted even though they are not completely happy with how it was done
  3. Do not ask how you should do something you are stuck on.  Present at least two ways of handling it and ask which way your boss prefers.  If you can’t think of two ways, then maybe you are in the right place
  4. Try to speak to your manager in private and discuss ways you can take over some of his or her responsibilities.  This will enable you to grow and to also become more valuable and to avoid becoming stagnated
  5. Establish a goal for yourself of where you want to be in five or so years and how much you want to be earning. Work out a path to get there.  If necessary, discuss with your boss on how they can help you
  6. Become knowledgeable and known in the industry.  Read trade journals, join associations, attend meetings and conferences and, if possible, become involved in committees.  If the situation warrants, write an article, present a speech or teach a class
  7. Become a mentor to younger personnel.  Be a go-to person and, if possible, a Mr. Answer Man or Woman
  8. Look at what I wrote below for managers and make sure you don’t fall into any of those circumstances

How managers can improve:

  1. Do not delay making decisions
  2. Do not accept responsibility to complete a job a subordinate is working on – see number 3 above.  You can also mentor or coach your staff people to enable them to get the job completed
  3. Have a better understanding of the capabilities of those working for you. Play to each person’s strengths and shield them from their weaknesses
  4. Take the time to explain clearly and deliberately what you want and how you want it done, and give a reasonable deadline and periodically check on progress
  5. A manager needs to be a cheer leader spurring on those reporting to him or her.  Compliments should be freely dispensed, as should mentoring and coaching.  Criticism should be quickly done in private and directly related to the improper action and not be a harangue on the person’s overall performance, or include something done last month that you forgot to mention then
  6. Unless you are the 100% owner, see what I wrote above for what staff can do – you are also “staff,” just at a different level

The business or not-for-profit organization is where you work to earn your living and to establish your long term financial security.  It is not done for pleasure, although there is no reason why you cannot enjoy what you do and the people you interact with, and get some satisfaction and fun out of it.  Life is too short to not appreciate what you need to do for the time you must spend trying to earn a living.

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