Opinion and Analysis
Seven habits of ineffective managers
Posted Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 18:21
Seven habits of ineffectiveness:
- Doing tomorrow what can be done today
- Forming a committee for a decision
- Thinking quick-win
- Not executing what is strategised
- Managing through isolation and fear
- Doing it all
- Knowing it all
On July 16, Stephen Covey passed away at 79. Thanks to his writing, his teachings have been immortalised in his best-seller book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In simple genius, he detailed the seven habits of effectiveness:
(i) Being proactive (ii) Beginning with end in mind (iii) Putting first things first (iv) Thinking win-win (v) Seeking first to understand, then be understood (vi) Synergising (vii) Sharpening the saw.
As my last respects, I hereby share with my fellow managers deduced wisdom from his teachings on what makes ineffective management.
1. Procrastinator management: Do tomorrow what can be done today
In psychology, procrastination is the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority. The whole essence of management is the ability to outline priority areas and get them done away with.
Of course, there is always the question: is priority as a result of urgency or importance? I move that priority has to be based on importance rather than urgency.
The act of doing urgent but not important tasks means that, soon, you will have incomplete important tasks becoming important and urgent. This leads to management by crisis.
If you find yourself using the first four hours of your day answering ‘urgent mail’ and perusing the day’s papers and later on you are forced to work up to ‘four hours overtime’, you are in the procrastinator category. As a wise man said, although time is the best teacher, it kills all its pupils.
2. Indecision: For a decision, form a committee
One of my former bosses had a tongue-in-cheek definition of what a committee is: a group of individuals who can do nothing individually but sit to decide that nothing can be done collectively.
I almost wholly agree. I trust that consultations are well and good. However, when such consultations are limited to bureaucratic assembly of a meeting for simple decisions, the chances of progress will be reduced.
Former US president Harry Truman kept a sign on his desk, reading, “ The buck stops here.” As President, he had to decide and accept responsibility for those steps.
Managers should keep this mantra at heart. But it does not mean adapting autocratic tendencies; it means that decision making should be taken without laggardness.
3. Short-cut management: Think quick-win