Managers, please, do not make three management mistakes:
1. One said “empower” without meaning it.
This hot buzz word of the 1990’s was never really understood by managers. Let’s break it down. “Em” means “to give” and “power” means, um—power. Or authority. Essentially this: The ability and freedom to make and act upon a decision without checking with the boss first.
That’s not allowed very often. BGM (Banished Gorilla Manager) #1 is now on ice because he said “empower” then added, “But before you do anything, run it by me first.”
2. One blamed the team.
Here’s what great managers get: It’s their job to take full and personal accountability for the results of their team. In other words, being a manager is like being a parent (stay with me). Karen and I state in Parenting the QBQ Way something we know some parents will reject.
Your child is a product of your parenting!
We know some moms and dads will nod politely at this all the while thinking, Well, it’s the schools, too. And Hollywood. And my kids’ friends. They all influence my children!
Might be true, but to blame outside factors is not leadership. And to keep it simple, it’s just weak parenting.
And there’s no leadership when managers ask unaccountable questions like, “Why can’t we find better people?” and “When are they gonna get motivated?” Managers who don’t wind up on ice ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ), “How can I be a better coach?” and “What can I do to improve me?”
And they always embrace this life philosophy: I own the results.
3. One beat his chest in arrogance.
I guess that’s the stereotype of a gorilla, eh? It’s also the image some of us still have of managers. I started in the business world right out of Cornell in 1980 with one of the world’s largest privately held firms. I had 5 managers in 5 years, and I can’t recall one of them ever admitting to a mistake. Has this changed? The reality is, all people make mistakes and it’s the wise, accountable, and well-trained manager who says stuff like:
- “I was wrong.”
- “I’m sorry, I blew it.”
- “I should’ve listened to you.”
- “I don’t know, what do you think?”
As we write in Outstanding!, the best organizations present humility to the marketplace. And as we write in QBQ!, accountable people know this:
Humility is the cornerstone of leadership.
Managers, want to stay off a floating ice block in the middle of nowhere? Then embrace and live this truth:
Arrogance repels, but a humble spirit is like a magnet, drawing our team to us.
So, whether you’re a grassroots “team lead” with five hourly people or the CEO of thousands, read this message again and commit today to not committing these major mistakes managers make.
It sure beats floating away on your own iceberg.
Have you seen a manager make these mistakes? What other mistakes do managers make and how do they affect the organization and team?
PS Want to be a “cool” manager? Learn how in this post.
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