The Seven Deadly Sins Of Management - Management
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SECTION: Management

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The Seven Deadly Sins Of Management

Written By Lonnie Pacelli

Article Date: 09-01-2005
Copyright (C) 2005 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Knowing the mechanics of managing a team is secondary to the character attributes a manager displays daily.

Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Anger. Greed. Sloth. You either recognize these as the seven deadly sins or as themes for prime-time television. Nonetheless, you were probably taught as a child that they are bad and you shouldn’t do them. The seven deadly sins of the management that follow are also bad. Here’s how to avoid them:

Sin #1 - Arrogance

Ever known a manager that consistently claimed to know more than the rest of the team? How about one that was unwilling to listen to opposing views? Isn’t this just a sign of confidence? What’s wrong with that?

Confidence as a manager is crucial, as people will look to you, particularly when things get tough. However, when confidence runs amok and turns to arrogance, the manager disrespects the team.

Show respect and have confidence, and you’ll do fine. Subtract out the respect and you’re just an arrogant doofus.

Sin #2 – Indecisiveness

So you have a meeting on Monday and the management agrees on a course of action. On Tuesday, the manager decides to take a completely different course of action. Thursday the manager goes back to Monday’s course of action. The following Monday, you’re back re-hashing through the same problem from last Monday. Blech!

Decisiveness means a manager listens to those around him or her, makes the best decision for the project – one that the rest of the team can understand – and sticks to it. While team members may not agree with the decision, they should be able to see the rationale.

Decisions made without rationale or without listening will ultimately frustrate your team and put a target on your back.

Sin #3 – Disorganization

We’ve all known the manager that asks for the same information multiple times, keeps the plan in his or her head versus writing things down, or is so frantic they’re on the verge of spontaneously combusting. Their disorganization creates unneeded stress and frustration for the team.

The manager needs to have a clear pathway paved for the staff to get from start to completion, and make sure the ball moves forward every day of the project. Disorganization leads to frustration, which leads to either empathy or anarchy.

Sin #4 – Stubbornness

On one of my early project management jobs, I was a month behind schedule on a three-month project. I refused to alter the project schedule insisting that I could “make up the schedule” by cutting corners and eliminating tasks.

Despite the entire project team telling me we were in deep yogurt, I stubbornly forged ahead. I ended up never seeing the end of the project because my stubbornness got me removed as the project manager. Talk about your 2x4 across the head.

A manager may believe his or her view of reality is the right way to go, but it’s imperative that he or she balances their perspective with that of the rest of the team.

Decisiveness without listening to the team leads to stubbornness.

Sin #5 – Negativism

One of my peer managers, in their zeal to “manage expectations,” would consistently discuss the project in a negative light. Either the focus was on what work didn’t get done, what the new issue of the week was, or who wasn’t doing their job.

That negative attitude about the work, people, and purpose of the project sapped the energy, enthusiasm, and passion out of the project. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy; the project failed because the project manager willed it to fail.

This one’s simple: A glass-is-half-empty manager is going to be a horrible motivator and will sap the energy from the team. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a happy person all the time, but you have to truly believe in what you’re doing and you need to positively motivate the team to get there.

Sin #6 – Cowardice

Imagine this: the manager who, when pressed on a budget or schedule over-run, blames team members, stakeholders, or anyone else that could possibly have contributed to their non-performance. Much easier to play the blame game and implicate others because everything didn’t go perfectly as planned.

It’s perfectly OK to be self-critical and aware of your own weaknesses and mistakes. For a leader to truly continue to grow in their leadership capabilities, they need to be the first to admit their mistakes and learn from them, as opposed to being the last one to admit mistakes.

Sin #7 – Distrust

Simply put, managers that don’t display necessary skills, show wisdom in their decisions, or demonstrate integrity aren’t going to be trusted. For the team to truly have trust in their leader, they need to believe that the manager has the skills to manage the project, the wisdom to make sound business decisions, and the integrity to put the team’s interests ahead of his or her own.

Take any one of these attributes away, and it’s just a matter of time before the manager gets voted off the island.

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Article Categories:  Management