- Bias against action: There are always plenty of reasons not to take a decision… People who don’t make mistakes generally don’t make anything. …A good decision today is worth far more than a perfect decision next month. Beware prevaricators.
- Secrecy: …Very few matters in business must remain confidential and good managers can identify those easily. …Secrets make companies political, anxious and full of distrust.
- Over-sensitivity: An inability to be direct and honest with staff is a critical warning sign. Can your manager see a problem, address it headlong and move on? If not, problems won’t get resolved, they’ll grow. …Interestingly, secrecy and over-sensitivity almost always travel together. They are a bias against honesty.
- Love of procedure: …rules and processes exist to expedite business, not ritualize it. Love of procedure often masks a fatal inability to prioritize — a tendency to polish the silver while the house is burning.
- Preference for weak candidates: …You must always hire people smarter than yourself.
- Focus on small tasks: …It was all displacement activity to hide the fact that she could not do her real job.
- Allergy to deadlines: A deadline is a commitment. …You can’t celebrate milestones if there aren’t any.
- Inability to hire former employees: …Every good manager has alumni, eager to join the team again; if they don’t, smell a rat.
- Addiction to consultants: A common — but expensive — way to put off making decisions is to hire consultants who can recommend several alternatives. While they’re figuring these out, managers don’t have to do anything. And when the consultant’s choices are presented, the ensuing debates can often absorb hours, days, months. Meanwhile, your organization is poorer but it isn’t any smarter. When the consultant leaves, he takes your money and his increased expertise out the door with him.
- Long hours: Bad managers work very long hours. …it is probably the single biggest hallmark of incompetence. To work effectively, you must prioritize and you must pace yourself. The manager who boasts of late nights, early mornings and no time off cannot manage himself so you’d better not let him manage anyone else.
Any one of these behaviours should sound a warning bell. More than two — sound the alarm!
Categories: Clark, Christy