Why are managers failing to manage?

Why are managers failing to manage?
When companies look into the causes of problems within the organization, so often the fault is place upon the employees. Managers insist that their employees either don’t know what they are doing or have a poor attitude. Only when more than one employee reporting to a particular manager fails, does the focus turn on the manager as part of the problem. So why do managers fail to manage their employees?

Managers have their own list of tasks to perform on a daily basis. It would be nice if all a manager had to do was spend their time managing their employees and providing undivided attention. In the real world, however, that is almost impossible. Despite their own heavy workload, managers must build in time to spend managing their employees. Without proper guidance and direction, employees are set up to fail.

Managers attempt to be hands off. No one really likes a micromanager. In order to not be labeled a micromanager, managers tend to swing to the total opposite end of the spectrum and take on a totally hands off approach. This tactic should not be used with even the most tenured employee. While it’s great to assume that your star employee will handle the work on their own, keep in mind that some of the greatest organizational disasters happened when too much trust was placed on an employee not being held to any type of accountability.

Managers should not have to hold their employee’s hands. This is slightly different from not wanting to be labeled a micro-manager. This is the manager that will not take the time of day to show their employees how to handle any tasks. After all, the manager learned through trial and error why shouldn’t the employee? This manager has the mistaken belief that the employee can figure it out so proper instruction is not provided. It all goes back to not finding the time to spend with their employees.

The employee is argumentative. No one likes to deal with constant controversy and that includes managers. Few managers are well equipped to handle confrontations. They prefer to steer clear of problems in the hopes that turning a blind eye might actually make the problem go away. Time has proven that a problem left to fester will only grow worse. Failing to handle problems when they first arise, will make the problem much worse then it needed to be.

In all of these circumstances, managers are failing not only the employees and the organization, but failing themselves as well. A manager that fails to manage will have low productivity and morale within their unit. This hurts the employee, the manager and the organization.

While it goes without saying that managers also have their own share of the workload, they still need to find the time to manage their employees. Time management is even more important for managers then for employees. Managers must find the time to do their own work and spend time teaching, coaching and counseling their employees.
Stay tuned next week when we discuss getting started on finding time to manage.

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