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Are Your Managers Leaders
by Dr. Rick Johnson
February 17, 2012

It has often been said that you can be an effective leader without being a good manager but you can’t be a good manager unless you are an effective leader.
·         Maintain the status quo
·         Monitor situations
·         Allocate resources
·         Measure the results
·         Communicate on the trends
·         Are strategic thinkers
·         Look forward and create visions
·         Challenge
·         Motivate
·         Inspire
·         Empower
·         Coach & Mentor
Managers focus on results whereas Leaders focus on the people that create those results. Both roles are critical to the success of any organization.
What causes non-performance?
How do you really determine if an employee’s performance has deteriorated because of his personal incompetence or the incompetence of his manager? I have dealt with numerous employee issues that, quite frankly, in many cases the problem was not the fault of the employee. Yes, the employee’s attitude wasn’t good, mistakes increased and their general performance wasn’t acceptable. However, replacing that employee didn’t solve the problem. In fact other employees also demonstrated symptoms leading to non-performance.
In reality, employee performance is highly influenced by the competency of their manager. That is why leadership is so critical to the success of the organization. Leadership at all levels. Yes, there are exceptions. There are those super star employees that can excel even if they work for the biggest jerk in the world. However, the normal employee’s performance will be dramatically affected by the competency of their manager.
So before you throw old Joe off the boat, make sure you evaluate the competency of his manager and the overall morale and culture of the department or division whatever the case may be. Determining the root cause for non-performance can be difficult. If you seem to have a number of employees who are not meeting expectations it might be a sign of a poor leadership skills --- a weakness in management.
Six Signs of a Weak Manager
I. Procrastination ---- Competent managers/leaders have a sense of urgency, a bias for action. They are not afraid to take calculated risks and they are not afraid to make a mistake. If you have a manager that has difficulty making decisions without constantly seeking approval or having a written dissertation justifying his decision, beware. This is a definite sign of possible incompetence.
II. Need to Know Mentality ---- Believing that all information is privileged information is a dangerous attitude that can dramatically reduce the company’s ability to effectively communicate. Effective communication is a key ingredient to creating an environment that encourages employees to release their discretionary energy; the energy that make the difference between success and extraordinary performance.
 I like to say that “Leadership without Communication is Like a Gun without a Bullet…. It Looks Impressive but it Can’t Do Anything.”
Not communicating with the employees shows a lack of respect. When employees feel that they aren’t respected they will demonstrate a lack of respect. The same goes for trust. Employees won’t start trusting you until you start trusting your employees.
III. Fear and Lack of Confidence Disguised as Compassion --- Johnny should be completing his target account plans but I know if I challenge him on it he’ll get real upset and may not do anything.” Compassion is strength but too much compassion can be a weakness. Employees want and need to be held accountable. If a problem is not recognized or the manager chooses not to address it then it is likely that it will never be resolved. Often times this disguising compassion is an indication of a lack of confidence and the ability to become an effective leader.
IV. Anal Retentive Complex ----- Managers that seem to live-eat & breathe company policy have lost sight of the fact that policy and procedure exist as tools to provide a foundation for business success and not to hinder it and create some form of ritualistic process. This trait in a manager may be an indication of the inability to prioritize and recognize the difference between urgent and important. In other words – it doesn’t matter that the sink is running over – procedure says we have to fold the wash rags.
V. Zebras Run With Zebras ----- Managers/Leaders that have a tendency to surround themselves with average or below average employees may feel personally threatened by aggressive outgoing action takers. As a result they may not always hire the best candidate for the open position due to feelings of inadequacy.
VI. No Followers ------- Effective managers/leaders command a presence when they walk into a room. More importantly they have a following. If your manager has not been able to recruit new employees from his former place of employment, this could be a sign that no one really wants to work for him/her. Good leaders have followers.
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