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Why Managers Fail

Employees tend to forget managers are humans, too. Managers do not come with super powers or a big “M” on their chest. They have their triumphant moments as leaders, as well as, their failures. The distance between success and failure can be relatively short. While failure is an important component of learning, certain failings can and should be avoided.

Here are 5 reasons why managers fail:

1 – Communication skills are less then adequate. Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, work or otherwise. Managers, who are uncertain about the organization’s vision or their own direction or lack skills, will often mask the uncertainty in ambiguous communication. Once the lack of communication is evident, the manager may compound the problem by blaming their staff for not understanding the message. An insecure manager relies on the telepathic powers of their staff to know what they should be doing. This leads to the manager viewing the unfortunate employee as putting forth a lack of effort when, in fact, the fault lies with the uncommunicative manager.

2 – Don’t take risks. What is success without some modicum of risk taking? While understanding the difference between risk taking and recklessness is important, so is taking the occasional risk. Managers who rely heavily on the status quo have no chance of improving. The ability to sustain performance relies on some degree of risk. Fear of failure from taking a risk essentially caps a ceiling on performance.

3 – A slip of the ethics. It all leads down to credibility. A manager who is not credible should be considered deadweight within any organization. The highest trait that a manager can possess is integrity. When a manager is caught compromising the truth for the “greater good”, while they may have had the best of intentions in mind, compromise their integrity.

4 – Poor self management. Burnout can manifest itself in illness, fatigue, poor decision and a host of other problems. Unfortunately, employees may not easily identify with an absentee manager due to health related issues, any more than a manager appreciates an employee with attendance problems. When the gauge is on “empty” managers must take the time to “refuel” otherwise they are no good to themselves, the employees or the organization.

5 – Lost passion. Once the “thrill is gone,” it’s gone. A manager who has lost their passion for their work is unable to function at the capacity needed by their employees and the organization. Once the passion for the work and the thrill is gone, it’s probably time to start exploring options.

It’s important for managers to realize they are employees. “Failure is not an option,” should never be considered status quo. While we should never plan to fail, we do need to realize that it is a reality. By paying attention to the warning flags, managers can avert disaster.




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