Seven Critical Prompts to Avoid Management Missteps

April 18, 2012 by
Posted in General Topics, Leadership

Business man showing thumbs up and thumbs down

Repeatability…is the basic essence of measuring a successful initiative, especially one that has sustainability. More easily described, repeatability is a methodology that, when used and implemented, will yield as good or better results than when previously used. For today’s managers, time is limited and so are resources. Therefore, in order to attain even a minimal level of success, each initiative must incorporate an elementary set of attributes that surfaces not only the positive aspects of project management, but the negative ones, too. On the positive side, each performance objective must clearly and precisely describe the parameters. Secondly, each initiative must be followed up and tracked with a score-keeping method, which may include placard reporting. Thirdly, when superior execution leads to initiative success, recognize it and reward the good performance.

On the flipside, seven critical facets can defeat repeatability on most any initiative; they include the following:

  1. Lack of motivation from immediate supervision. Spawning out of actions by leadership that fails to uphold foundational guiding principles, resulting in goals being compromised. Leaders must eliminate the occurrence of disjointed directives or sending mixed signals to the worker, especially when those same workers are the performers and are held to certain performance standards. Work in its most appealing light and supported by the right attitude is a meaningful piece of the whole company puzzle.
  2. Not recognizing team or individual performance. A core group of workers will excel and that effort must be recognized when exercising the desire to contribute. According to a recent study of skilled workers, most craved three conditional functions they derived from their work: first was autonomy, demonstrating the fact they could work productively. Second was mastery of a skill, knowing that they had the ability to perform with confidence. Third was being reminded of how what they do everyday fits into the overall goals and objectives of the company. Leaders in sync with their immediate team members can springboard workers’ efforts by providing direction and foresight, resulting in an atmosphere to contribute at a high performance level from team members.
  3. Failing to recognize basic human thinking. Recognize how workers think individually and how it occurs within each working team member. In general, every leader is responsible for communicating the message that each worker contributes to what the company makes/does. Furthermore, every leader must link how when workers excel at their activities, how it reflects on the overall success of the company and why efficient and effective execution is demanded to create a more stable workplace.
  4. Failing to recognize industry constraints, which means not fully understanding the industry that one operates in. Well-established industries, often those with no newness or cutting-edge technology, become best suited for productivity increases. When more directly applied, productivity increases are found in optimizing operational performance, for example the “mechanical functions” related to performing leak tests on refrigeration piping or streamlining administrative functions to avoid duplication. This helps more be performed with fewer inputs. Leaders must continually be current with the state of the economy and with the state of the company’s customers and clients.
  5. Failing to demonstrate common courtesy. The ebb and flow of common courtesy when correctly designed strengthens the terms of work while acknowledging the flexibility demonstrated by both performers and managers. Such flexibility is paramount to the lending of the facet of agility to a company’s mission, especially during the challenging current conditions found in today’s economic climate.
  6. Failing to command reciprocal trust. Trust is gained or lost through words and actions. One management faux pas is stating a company directive or condition, wherein such condition is not being applied across the board throughout the company as a whole or later retracted by corporate policy. Commonly referred to as “egg-on-your-face” syndrome, trust is then compromised. Leaders must stay consistent with the policies set forth by the company, however, recognizing at times variations do occur. When variations dictate the conditions, leaders must garner encompassing support from all levels of the workplace.
  7. Failing to assess the cost consequences of decisions or the impression on team culture. Team culture comes in many forms from Concerted Team Management to Impoverished Authority-Obedient Management. In every decision affecting team members, a benefactor is made apparent while a payer is also apparent, too. Leaders must work diligently to minimize the costs to team members, avoid blatant inefficiencies, and carve out culture cronyism. 

In summary, sustainment of any great organization is garnered by creating a sense of ownership in all of the employees, that is, getting employees to think and act like owners. Surface a sustainable attitude of “how can we help” versus “what’s the difference to me.” Only when the attitude is elevated will the repeatability be sustainable.

Do you have a specific sustainment management tool you most favor used to attain better team performance or momentum? Would you say your leadership skills demonstrate a methodical approach to sustainment? How?

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About the Author: For over 17 years, Mike Koper helped establish new training programs for GP Strategies™ and continues to be a subject matter expert in the manufacturing industry. He has written and published numerous thought leadership articles for the industry.

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