Posted 03 February 2015 by Chris Farmer
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Training to rectify the four most common Leadership and Management Mistakes
Leaders and managers make the same mistakes, over and over again.
The role of your leaders and managers is a pivotal role, any mistakes they make are leveraged and their painful consequences are magnified.
On the more positive side, if your managers do a great job of leading the team, then their good work is also leveraged and their positive consequences are also magnified.
So, it is important that your leaders and managers don't mess up.
Many managers repeat the same mistakes
There are four mistakes which, in a way, can be said to be the root cause of all the other management mistakes.
If we identify the four main mistakes that are the root cause of all the subsidiary, minor mistakes and we rectify them, replacing them by the training of effective leadership and management skills, then the payoff would be HUGE.
The four main mistakes managers make
- The mistake of not clarifying the exact nature of the goal: leaving the description of the goal too vague and therefore open to multiple meanings and interpretations.
- The mistake of not gaining the willing cooperation of the rest of the team. Too many managers rely, too often, on the use of a military style of leadership: they shout at people like a sergeant major, rather than speaking to people in the kind of ways that is likely to gain their willing co-operation. Instead of using the military method, managers need to develop a "Mutual-Gain" style of leadership.
- The mistake of failing to plan ahead and predict the likely results of the current economic and technical trends. Meaning the organisation tends to carry on doing "what works" until it doesn't work any more. By the time they find out that what they are doing doesn't work any longer, it is too late to do anything to avert the crisis. Therefore the management becomes synonymous with "crisis management", resulting in the organisation lurching endlessly from one crisis to the next.
- The mistake of failing to listen, meaning, failing to gather valuable feedback information from those people in the organisation who are on the front line and who are implementing the plans that have been passed down from on high. Consequently, the plans that originally seemed so sound on paper, when they are actually put into practice, need to be modified, due to the negative feedback they attract from the implementers.
If managers ask for, and listen to, and take account of the negative feedback, then they are able to modify the plans accordingly. Then progress will be adaptive, rapid and continuous.
But if the negative feedback is not asked for, or if the negative feedback is ignored, then the success mechanism fails because success relies upon the steady flow of negative feedback information.
Take a look at this diagram and see how negative feedback works in the pursuit of progress.
How to rectify these four mistakes and replace them with effective leadership and management skills
The way to rectify these four mistakes is through proper training. Training should address each of the four mistakes and the training should replace them with leadership and management skills.
Your leader managers may benefit from training on how to....
1. Clarify the exact nature of the target: they need to leave no ambiguity about the description of the goal
If there is ambiguity then different people will interpret the same words in different ways and the team will fragment. Then all effective action will come to a halt.
For example: what if there was ambiguity about the nature of the target in, say a supermarket chain. Is the main aim of a supermarket chain, to gain market share, or to maximise its profits? Would it be possible for a supermarket chain to increase market share, but do it at the expense of making loses?
2. Gaining the co-operative spirit of the rest of the team by means of using a Mutual-Gain style of leadership
The Mutual Gain style of leadership recognises the fact that your business organisation is NOT an army. Rather, it is a co-operative union of people who don't have to be there. They could work elsewhere. Nobody at your place of work signed up for five years military service and they are not conscripts. Nor do the people at your business or organisation, come to work for you out of a sense of patriotic duty. They work for you out of their own sense of personal self-interest and in the pursuit of mutual gain. The relationship between the managers and the workers should therefore be one of a mutual alliance with the motive of mutual gain. The relationship between the managers and the workers should not be "Us versus them"; the management versus the workers; but rather, "All of us, versus all of our problems."
3. Leaders need to plan ahead and predict the likely results of the current economic and technical trends
This means that the managers should always be looking ahead, trying to accurately predict what will happen in the future economy and act in advance of the event, in order to be ready to take advantage of the change. Amazon is a great example of this type of business.
Organisations that tend to carry on doing "what works" until it doesn't work anymore, find that by the time they realise that what they are doing does not work, it is too late to do anything to avert the crisis. The Morrison's supermarket chain seems to be in that category of organisation.
Planning ahead is the name of the game for leader managers. And yet many managers don't plan ahead well. Instead, they pride themselves as being good at "managing crises". But they fail to recognise that the crises they are so good at managing, were caused by a previous lack of effective planning.
4. Leaders and managers need to understand the workings of the success formula
Meaning, they need to know how to use feedback. Feedback is information relating to the effectiveness or non effectiveness of the current actions. Feedback comes in two forms: positive and negative.
- Everyone loves to hear positive feedback.
- Most people hate hearing negative feedback.
So they avoid it. They dismiss it. They evade it.
But the point is this: Negative feedback is the breakfast of champions. Corny, but true.
Your leaders need to know how to use feedback to their own advantage; both positive feedback and negative feedback.
- Many managers don't give sufficient positive feedback.
- And many managers don't take negative feedback.
Both errors lead to painful consequences.
Your leaders may need more training to get this message into their minds. If you think we could help you by training your team, please call us.
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