A columnist in the Wall Street Journal who writes about management recently did a piece on three successful leaders who had benefited from avoiding the mistakes of their predecessors. It brought home the truth that negative lessons often stick the longest. Most of us now in leadership jobs were witnesses to objectionable things that our predecessors did. Consequently, as we progress up the management ladder, we make sure that we dont do the same things.
In each other we trust
Rules for ensuring employees can get the job done
The article stresses there are five things that make for good management. The first is to never humiliate staffers in front of others. Actually, humiliating anyone in front of others tells us a lot about the person who chooses to act that way. I would suggest that anyone who would do that in the workplace would do it as well to others. People with that tendency should never be trusted in management positions. The second trait that many managers exhibit is making lightning-fast decisions that too often turn out wrong. Snap decisionmaking may be the norm today, but it can wreak havoc on a company. Good managers assess a situation thoroughly before making important decisions. The next mistake made too often by inexperienced managers is setting impossible deadlines. Quality also suffers as does staff morale. Another bad management practice is interfering with subordinates personal time outside the office. Managers have to respect their team members lives away from work. Finally, remember that perception is reality in the workplace. Managers may not think they are favoring one worker over another, but too frequently the perception is that it is the case and that also affects morale.
Most of us feel we can be better managers than the next person if we only had the chance, but being a manager and doing it with skill and impartiality is no easy matter. That is why it is important to avoid those negative habits many of us now in management positions have witnessed in our predecessors.
Another view of the workplace is provided in a newsletter I read regularly. I found the results of a study conducted by the consulting firm Lore International Institute of more than 500 employees across various industries, which concluded that to succeed in the workplace, its important for workers to demonstrate trustworthiness, honesty and an ability to collaborate. According to the studys findings, those were the top traits sought by successful employees. On the other hand, a list of what is not important to successful employees is somewhat surprising. For instance, only 18% of those surveyed said that they were seeking companionship and friendship from their co-workers. What successful employees look for in others are those individuals who are good teammates, keep their colleagues informed and also work with others in a collaborative way.
The article cites four examples of trust killers. They include credit hogs who claim the spoils of someone elses hard work or good ideas; lone rangers who work alone and not with others; egomaniacs who think they are the only ones on staff who are any good; and mules, people who are stubborn to a fault.
Good employees want to work, not be preoccupied with making friends. They believe in doing a good job and doing it well and not getting involved in gossip and company politics. So it is important for any company to make sure they have successful managers all up and down the line working with successful employees who want to give a full measure of effort and skill every day. Too often, however, these managers are put into leadership positions without the necessary skills and training required and as a consequence destroy the morale and work habits of their subordinates.
Charles S. Lauer is the former vice president- publishing and editorial director of Modern Healthcare. He now is a consultant to the healthcare industry and also serves on the boards of healthcare companies.
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