Are Your Managers on Track to Deliver?

August 25, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

In uncertain times, people depend on their leadership for stability and reassurance. This is precisely why leadership counts for so much in every aspect of life. In business, leadership comes from management and extends from the C-suite to the front-line manager. In uncertain economic times it is critical that managers lead to the best of their abilities.

Ironically, it is at the times when you need the best your managers have they are most likely to fail. Change and the challenges that go with it, seem to magnify the weaknesses that cause managers to get off track and fail. This unsettling fact leads to the obvious question. What causes managers, especially front-line managers to fail?

One of the first critical weaknesses that can hamstring managers during turbulent times is a lack of good interpersonal and communication skills. Even the most technically adept manager can’t do everything on their own. They need to communicate their vision clearly to their team and get everyone on board pulling in the same direction. More importantly, a manager must have empathy and the ability to really listen to their employees. If not they will miss a lot of opportunities to coach and motivate effectively.

Dysfunctional teams and disengaged employees are often the hallmark of the second weakness, inadequate leadership skills. There are certain skills beyond communication that are needed to lead people effectively. Good leaders are constantly trying to understand the people they lead better. They want to know as much as they can about them, what drives them, what demotivates them and who they are as a person. Leaders who take the time to really understand their employees develop great trust which in turn develops strong teams.

Our third weakness that can derail your managers is a resistance to change. This seems so straightforward, but how can you expect to lead employees through changes if you can’t get past your own resistance to change. Do you get uptight or upset at the very mention of a new change? Chances are you’ve got some major change issues and this will cripple your team and your career.

At the most basic level, management is about delivering results. And it is especially important that you are delivering the results expected by the company. Unfortunately not everyone is as goal oriented as others and mangers need to get training on how to set proper goals and then keep on track with their priorities. Some managers may need more help than others, there is no one size fits all solution.

Our last critical weakness that can put your managers off track is an inability to see beyond their own silo. Managers can develop a tendency to see the world through the narrow lens of their own department and only see what is relevant for that small part of the company. Managers need to see the big picture and how contributions made by their team impact the overall goals of the company. If they don’t they can quickly find themselves unaligned with the overall mission of the business. That is a very bad thing.

Remember that very good managers can pick up bad habits. An organization must stay vigilant looking out for these and other issues that can get their management team off track. Employee engagement is most affected by the quality and consistency of management and leadership. And engagement is one of the most key components of overall business performance and profitability. Through good times and times of uncertainty, companies with strong leadership flourish and succeed.

Jim Brown is a performance consultant specializing in helping organizations create leadership development programs that align managers with business goals and train to their specific needs. Utilizing his years of experience and certification as an Adult Education expert, Jim is able to help companies train managers on-the-job, one of the most effective ways of learning. Using state of the art assessment tools, these programs are tailored to individual needs and learning styles and deliver better results for your investment. If you’d like more information on how this unique but proven approach to leadership development could take your managers to the next level, contact Jim at or by email at or by phone at 1-888-580-8835. Download FREE case studies of 360 assessments at work at

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