In my experience, every director wants to produce breakthrough bottom-line results. However many are so focused on their own results they become ineffective managers.
Results and managerial effectiveness are intertwined.
Are you making any of the following managerial mistakes (without realising)?
1. Being a ‘busy fool’
Acting on impulse can get you caught up with seemingly urgent tasks. You spend more time ‘doing’ than ‘leading’.
Some call this ‘busy fool syndrome’ because you’re reacting, rather than being pro-active. Your team then follow your lead, everyone is busy, but targets are being missed and customers let down – or you’re getting results, however accompanied by stress (which brings out the worst in you).
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” ―Tim Ferris, Author of 4 Hour Work Week
Effective managers apply persistent, focused action on the most impactful tasks. There are many ways to become more focused and pro-active. One simple example is to remove yourself from non-critical meetings and encourage supervisors to take on more responsibility – which frees you to focus on strategic goals, like building stakeholder relationships or forging strategic partnerships.
“Without persistent, focused action everything you know is virtually useless—a series of interesting mental exercises—nothing more.” ― Dusan Djukich, Author of Straightline Leadership
2. Reacting to people, places and things
Getting frustrated on a regular basis with family, colleagues, friends and co-workers. Maybe your partner is angry with you in the morning, someone cuts you up on the motorway, or a co-worker pushes your buttons – each reaction generates tension and frustration.
These small reactions seem insignificant, however compounded by a heavy workload, pressure from stakeholders and the responsibility of providing for a family, this can trigger your ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms within your nervous system. Over time you feel increasingly frustrated, angry and worn out.
“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.” – Steven Covey, Author and Speaker
Effective managers are calmly resilient. Rather than blaming people, places and things, take full responsibility for your reactions and decisions. Reclaim the power to change. Resilience makes you less reactive and more proactive, benefitting every area of life – health, relationships, communication – and managerial effectiveness. If you reframe challenging situations, listen (rather than react) and take time out of your day to calm your nervous system. You will feel better and lead better.
“Nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul” – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Philosopher and Scholar
3. High Expectation and Low Appreciation
Even though you are a high achiever, you have a sense of dissatisfaction with life. On one hand you get results, but on the other hand achievements are never enough.
It feels good for a moment, but shortly fades back into dissatisfaction. The next big goal, the next big project, the next win, the new car, the new house, the new suit, it never ends. Each time you achieve more, you want more. You feel a sense of guilt because you ‘should be’ happy. You have everything that is meant to make you happy, but yet are still unfulfilled.
“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the whole world changes instantly” – Tony Robbins, Speaker and Coach
Effective managers make clear agreements and show appreciation. Clear agreements make life so much simpler. For example, it’s easy to adhere to a verbal agreement that has been verbally made, whereas it’s almost impossible to meet unsaid expectations – it’s a recipe for failure!
Make clear agreements and show appreciation. It doesn’t mean being nice (which is ineffective). It means setting clear boundaries and appreciating what you have. Not only will you be more effective and feel more fulfilled, but you’ll also be nicer to be around.
“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” – Steven Covey, Author and Speaker
4. Neglect of self
Your sole focus on ‘success’ has got you to where you are, but not without consequence. Skipping meals, spending long periods sitting in front of a computer, eating fatty foods, drinking too much caffeine and exercising too little – all detrimental to your health, marriage, friendships and family relationships.
Neglect of self – if unaddressed – leads to tension and frustration, which severely hinders your effectiveness.
“Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure’ – Tony Robbins, Speaker and Coach
Effective managers are healthy and happy. Focused on impact, rather than hours worked, freeing up time to invest in health, energy, passion and vision, which are all important qualities of powerful leadership. Being sharp mentally and physically focuses you on the most impactful application of your efforts, rather than just being busy.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all” – Peter Drucker, Educator and Author
5. Failure to delegate
You’re far too busy to delegate and think it’s quicker to just do it yourself. Holding on to tasks might seem more effective for a moment, but disempowers those around. As your company grows it is increasingly important to lead rather than do as you can’t scale your time. Failure to delegate will cripple your schedule and keep you caught up in ‘busy fool’ syndrome described in point 1.
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do” – Jessica Jackley, Entrepreneur
Effective Managers delegate consistently and empower those around them. Building a support network whom can be trusted to get the job done. If you think that stepping away from the business would result in a drop in performance, then start asking better questions. For example, rather than “Why can’t I step away from the business without performance dropping?” to “What would need to happen to ensure that I could step away from the business and results would be sustained?”.
Trust responsibility to your team and have supervisors step up. This frees you to develop key accounts or build stakeholder relationships. One small example, but this logic scaled empowers teams and builds effective support structures.
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit” – Andrew Carnegie, Philanthropist
6. Poor Time-keeping
You’re late to meetings, move appointments at short notice and make excuses. Having a full schedule is one thing, poorly managing your time is another, “sorry I’m late”, or “sorry but something came up” might work from time-to-time, but if this is a daily or weekly occurrence then you have a problem.
Integrity means doing what you say you are going to do. Bending on your commitments lacks integrity, waste time and frustrates those around you.
“To live an uncommon life, one needs to learn uncommon disciplines.” – Mark Divine, Author of Unbeatable Mind
Effective Managers understand that “how you show up for something is how you show up for everything”. One of the jobs of a manager is to inspire others to follow. Raising standards for yourself gives others something to emulate and is the foundation of effective leadership.
Leadership means inspiring others to follow, rather than the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, which happens when you think that your time is more important. Also remember that your actions speak louder than words. Showing up on time, doing what you say you are going to do and cleaning up immediately when you are out of integrity are all qualities of an effective person.
“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – John W. Gardner, American Educator