December 20th, 2009 09:45 EST
Dealing With A Problem Manager
Excerpted from my co-authored book,"The Entrepreneur`s Guide to Successful Leadership"
About five years ago, Dan was facilitating a week long management seminar for a trash-to-fuel company. The founders of the organization were typical entrepreneurs: they had a vision, formulated a mission and accompanying strategy; worked hard to put together the financing, staff, and facilities; went out and got clients; and turned over the day-to-day operations of the plants to others. However, one of the company`s major facilities was run by an excessive micro-manager who was known for, what employees called, "turn over the bucket management."
Dan was curious to find out what that meant and posed the question to the twenty-three managers in attendance. Their response was revealing. The micromanager (we`ll call him Jim), would oversee every task minutely. If a problem occurred at work, Jim would call anyone he felt could help alleviate the situation. Then he would turn over a bucket, sit on it, and and watch them work. He would do this even if the problem happened after normal hours and he had to call people back into the plant. His staff had become used to his behavior. They expected him to oversee any and all functions personally. This became overwhelm; people felt none of them was capable of doing their jobs completely on their own.
This is an extreme case, but it demonstrates that fact that it can happen even to the most trusting entrepreneurial leader. To avoid the problem, Keep your eyes and ears open to situations that may cause employee unrest or create demotivating behavior Anything that leads to slippage in productivity should be a concern to anyone who empowers their employees. It`s always good to check in with your employees. Once in a while, arrange an unscheduled lunch to say thanks " and ask a few questions. You should ask open-ended questions such as, What are some concerns the team has with the current project? " Listen and take mental notes. Ask more questions and dig deeper and really listen. Then get permission " to take a few notes so together the team can build an action plan to deal with some critical problems.
Incidentally, never discuss people`s performance in a negative way in a group setting. You are the leader, and you will take action based on what you have heard at lunch. All effective leaders must make sure to delegate without micromanaging, while knowing what your employees are doing to carry out their tasks. It is a balancing act that must be perfected.
You may be wondering how the above scenario was resolved. Jim was fired and replaced by Bob. Bob was an empowering manager, the kind every entrepreneurial leader should strive to hire. His first statements to his managers on the initial day of the weeklong training session were, Do you folks want to have a life? Do you want to do your jobs the way you always felt you should? Do you want to go home at a normal hour? Then, let`s start by changing the culture."
Dan Goldberg is a keynote speaker and the President of Dan Goldberg Consulting, L.L.C. a training, coaching and business development firm located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He is the author of the book Lighten Up and Lead, " co-author (with Don Martin) of the book The Entrepreneur`s Guide to Successful Leadership, " and author of The Six Steps To Solid Sales Success " and The Seven Elements of Successful Management " programs and the audio tape Growing A Successful Business ". You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit his website at www.dangoldberg.com or reach him at (215) 233-5352. You can also follow Dan on twitter at: http://twitter.com/dannygoldberg, become a fan of Dan on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DanGoldbergFB, and/or join his new facebook group; Mastering enLightened Leadership™at: http://bit.ly/DanGMeL.