What Are The 2 Reasons Why Managers Fail?
At SerialTrainer7 I get to meet, coach and train so many managers and it is such a privilege to work with such talented people. Along the way conversations are had that can be quite challenging, especially when we discuss their own performance as a manager and what makes them effective and not so effective.
Over time, there have been some areas of parity between managers and these cannot be ignored and it has now got to a stage where I can write about what I have discovered in terms of why many managers fail or get it wrong. It’s good news too. There are only two main reasons why. You might be surprised too.
The First Reason That Managers Fail – Emulation & Imitation
So much pressure is put onto new and existing managers to perform. They often find themselves in a management position, not by choice but because the business thought they were ready. Of course this can an enticing situation for an employee as it a form of promotion perhaps and comes with specific perks. If the business doesn’t invest in training for the new manager, what are they to do?
Well of course they look to their own experience of being managed. They imitate their previous managers, emulating the behaviour, which they believe is right, and transmit this onto their teams. So if they had a particularly assertive manager, who might have thrown their weight around, they become that manager. Their employees have no idea who this person is, as the behaviour is not congruent with they know, so they react, often badly. By direct contrast, they might have had a manager who worked hard to be everyone’s friend, and so they do this too. They cannot have a challenging conversation with anyone for fear of upsetting them.
These managers also emulate and imitate behaviour taught to them in management books or on training courses. This behaviour can set the bar way to high and so the manager is setting out to fail. The content of some books is full of jargon and management spiel which when applied in the ‘real world’ sounds fake and bit crap, so again the staff react badly. It is important to establish that when you attend a training course, to make sure the trainer has experience of managing people, otherwise you may find their skills are text book based making them an ‘expert’ and yet really they are false prophets of unrealistic expertise.
Solution – It can be difficult to find your way in management and as Patty McCord famously said, “you cannot be what you cannot see”. You have to look for those who get it right, and in a way that fits your style, your people and your business. Just be yourself, be aware of your limitations, be open and honest in your approach be good to people. The process of management will find its way to you in time. Management is about people and bringing out the best in them.
The Second Reason that Managers Fail –Telling, Telling and Telling
It’s about telling people what to do, right?
I have met so many managers of various levels who still believe that management is about telling people what to do, this is not management this is just being bossy. Crazy right? Management is about people and bringing out the best in them. I said that just now. Work out what people are good at, and tell them, and then they will do it again. Tell them what you don’t like and it will stop.
Telling people bad news.
On that latter point this is another part of this reason why the fail, they believe that if they tell people bad news that they will be disliked, and anyway isn’t it HR’s job to do that? So they abdicate this part away hoping they will still be friends and popular. You owe it to your team to be honest, so if they are not performing or something isn’t right then deal with it. Just don’t make it personal, focus on the behaviour or the results, not the personality.
Telling people good news.
Of course some managers believe if they tell people good news, or praise them, then they will come across as weak or a walk over, so they never bother. Well if the manager cannot be bothered to tell someone they are doing a good job, then why should the employee do it? It doesn’t matter if it is their job or not, they will just do the minimum. As before, recognise good behaviour and results, a thank you can go a long way, and people will love you for that.
Solution – If you are a manager, then be the manager. It is what you are paid to do, the business has paid you to do the job, and the business has given you the authority to behave as a manager, so own it. If you need help in having a challenging conversation, good or bad, then ask for help. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Does this all make sense? I hope so, it does to me, and in most cases when I see managers struggling it can come down to one of these two reasons. By knowing this, it can make things very easy in terms of correcting and improving the performance of the manager.
Thanks for reading and if you need help with your management style or management team get in touch with us and one our Management Academy modules might be just the ticket.
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