Managers have a great opportunity to lead others. They also have the privilege to be a positive role model, but some do not take their role or responsibility seriously.
As the CEO of Aha! I now have the great opportunity to select hardworking leaders who respect our team and want to grow themselves. But earlier in my career, I encountered those whose management styles left plenty to be desired, and the whole team suffered for it.
Now, these managers were not necessarily bad people. And perhaps they never had the opportunity to learn from great leaders themselves. Nevertheless, their poor management styles had a negative impact on others. And these types of managers are unfortunately still out there, causing havoc in the workplace.
If you are in a leadership position, could you be making life more difficult than necessary for your team? Here are three of the more troublesome management styles I have run across - and how you can change if these descriptions seem too close for comfort:
The rock collector
This manager is an enigma to the entire team. Everyone is eager to please her, bringing rocks of all varieties for her inspection and approval, but few ever pass muster. The rock collector keeps everyone guessing about what she really wants and causes frustration because she is never completely satisfied. This undermines the team's confidence.
If you think you might be a rock collector, you may not know what you actually want, which is why you can never make up your mind. To change that, you must first have a vision for what you want to achieve. Then develop a clear strategy for achieving that vision, and share it with your entire team so everyone understands the goals they are working toward.
To others, the lifestyler's goal seems to be avoiding hard work at all costs, and spending as much time as possible on leisure activities. He happily pursues the good life, unaware that everyone else must work that much harder to pick up the slack. When he does appear in the office, he does not stick around long enough to accomplish anything meaningful.
If you think you have a a slacker reputation, start demonstrating a strong work ethic and being responsive to your team, following through with their requests. Once they witness that you are making a real effort to change, they will be more happy to work right alongside you.
This manager is a chameleon and has no trouble saying whatever the other person wants to hear. This causes confusion for the team, who must reconcile different versions of the same story. This leads to a lack of trust and unclear objectives, and time spent double-checking and clarifying details instead of accomplishing the actual work.
If you think you have a reputation as a double-speaker, you may not recognize when you are doing it. So start paying attention: Think before you speak, and make sure your words line up with what you actually believe. You will earn more respect by being truthful than flip-flopping your position to earn someone's favor or cast yourself in a better light.
I do not think anyone sets out to earn the reputation of a difficult manager or drive people crazy. And no one automatically is born knowing how to lead. Nevertheless, they still have the responsibility to offer their best to their team.
Successful managers are willing take a hard look at themselves and see where they have room to improve. So if you have the opportunity to manage others, do not squander this chance to make a positive impact. I challenge you to think about what characteristics define your leadership style. Start taking your role seriously and start earning the reputation as someone everyone wants to work for and with.