Managers face a myriad of challenges every day, and there isn’t a hard-and-fast handbook on how to successfully manage them (although many self-proclaimed experts have tried writing them), because every situation is different.
In a deep dive session at IMEX America’s Smart Monday powered by MPI, Eric Kaufmann, president of Sagatica, a leading firm in developing successful executives, shared what he calls “The Seven Deadly Sins of Management” and dared the leaders in attendance (members of the meetings industry with more than 15 years experience) to analyze how they are really managing their small businesses or departments.
“Mistakes are nature's way of showing you that you’re learning,” Kaufmann said. “As a manager, you will make mistakes, but you can avoid common managerial errors by knowing where the common pitfalls are."
Kaufmann’s “Seven Deadly Sins” are: Anger, Apathy, Assumption, Confusion, Greed, Laziness and Pride.
Anger. The worst of the worst. A leader who manages through situations by instilling fear in an individual or team threatens cohesiveness and productivity.
Apathy. If you don’t care about the outcomes and how those outcomes are achieved, how can you expect your team to care? A great leader in my career taught me to “inspect what you expect.” Great advice if you want to motivate any team (and yourself).
Assumption. To be an excellent manager, you must communicate efficiently and frequently. Failure to disseminate the proper information in a timely manner to your team leads to fragmented projects and missed objectives.
Confusion. Your teams take the lead from your direction. If you don’t have a clear path, how do you expect your team to end up in the same location?
Greed. Have you ever tried to do everything yourself? Doesn’t work out well, does it? Simply put, you don’t trust your team. If someone has violated your trust, work with them to rebuild it. But, first ask yourself, “Is there any reason why I shouldn’t trust this person?” If the answer is no, then give them the wings to fly and let them leave the nest. They may make a mistake or two along the way, but everyone will be stronger in the end because of it.
Laziness. Lazy leaders breed lazy teams. The best leaders know when it’s okay to have fun, sure, but they also aren’t short of focus. The best leaders are always studying, listening, thinking and creating.
Pride. If you’re a good leader, you can admit you aren’t an expert in everything. Know the expertise of everyone on your team and make sure you’re giving them the opportunities to excel at what they do best.
None of these should be a surprise to you. If you think about it, we’ve all been training for management positions since our earliest years, because the rule that guides all great leaders is really just simply: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Or, as the oft-quoted keynote speaker and best-selling author Brian Tracy, puts it: “Always practice Golden Rule #1 of management in everything you do: Manage others the way you would like to be managed.”
So next time you find yourself having to make an important management decision (there’s probably one waiting for you in the next email) step back, take a deep breath and ask yourself, how would I want my manager to respond? Am I living up to the highest standard? Am I leading by example?
But, as Kaufmann said, we all make mistakes—that’s inevitable.
I say, not ignoring the mistakes when we make them is the key to being a successful manager and a great leader.