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Various Styles of (Mis)Management™: Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Let’s face it , being a great leader – whether at work, home, or in some type of sport – isn’t easy. There’s no lack of information available on the subject; you can usually find all sorts of opinions readily at your fingertips. The problem is, it can be difficult to wade through the information, and often times the suggestions may even conflict one another. Advice can range from being more lenient to cracking down and being tougher; from micro-managing to giving free rein.

So when I put together a program on leadership development for my clients, it seemed that one of the best ways to teach what to do was to understand what not to do. Some of the lessons came from observing other people (who were not at all effective) in leadership roles, and some of the lessons came (painfully at times) from my own trial and error.

In an effort to show you what not to do, here are my Top 10 Styles of Mis-Management to avoid:

1. THE RULER; Loves power, loves having final approval, changes policy to comply with any given circumstance (particularly when it benefits them).

2. THE ENFORCER: Adheres to the letter of the law. Is very familiar with company policy and believes there is no room for deviating from the stated guidelines. Even in an emergency.

3. THE INVISIBLE: Very hard to locate, often missing from meetings and/or leaves early from meetings, and is never around when needed. They are also the ones who read email, listen to voicemail, and text others while attending a meeting or supposedly participating in a conversation.

4. THE MYSTERY: Direct reports are extremely hesitant to make a decision in his/her absence because they’re not sure what their leader’s position might be. The staff is indecisive (typically because this management style is also often “Invisible”), typically paralyzed, and will often negatively impact other departments.

5. THE SURVEYOR: Can’t make a decision without getting a consensus or bringing in a focus group. Does not understand the meaning of “sense of urgency” and is capable of single-handedly holding up progress indefinitely.

6. THE OBSERVER: Is happy to watch everyone else work, has no problem delegating, gives little or no real guidance or feedback, and loves to “test” employees. Infamous for delivering unhappy “surprise” feedback during performance reviews.

7. THE FRIEND: Wants to be “friends” with everyone, finds holding others accountable extremely difficult; is hurt when not included in social situations, and often deviates off the subject of business in favor of socializing with the staff.

8. THE EXHAUSTED: Always worn out, always over worked, always overwhelmed. This can, and usually does, go on for years.

9. THE INSTIGATOR: Actually creates havoc. Has little regard for keeping confidential information, and enjoys being “in the know.” To them, “inside” knowledge is power.

10. THE SHOWBOAT: Always takes credit for EVERYTHING. Must be the center of attention and wouldn’t dream of sharing information or success with anyone else, particularly those he sees as his subordinate.

Unfortunately, you may be familiar with a few of these styles (though you’ve certainly never displayed them); having experienced reporting to this type of mis-manager yourself. I’ve also experienced reporting to at least one of these styles of mis-managers, and I often see them in various types of companies I consult with. Sadly, I’m even guilty of trying out a few of these styles myself, in my early years in leadership roles.

I know how miserable it can be, dealing with this lunacy on a regular basis. I also know it’s easy to fall into the belief that any of these styles may be “normal,” because you’ve not experienced true leadership. However,
, and by that I mean someone you actually want to follow, can be easily identified, regardless of title. They review information, consider objectives, and weigh options before making a decision. They ask for, and value, input from the team and are truly interested and invested in team member growth. They make timely decisions based on facts and experience and/or intuition and common sense. They set clear expectations, hold others accountable, and give reasonable freedom, encouragement, and support.They believe your time is as valuable as their own, and maintain consistent behavior – never using profanity or scare tactics.

The bottom line; remember the best or worst “leader” you’ve ever experienced and let that guide you in the right direction. Which style would you follow?Activate Potential. Realize Results.™

©2014 Lisa Broesch. All rights reserved internationally. Permission granted to excerpt or redistribute with attribution and notification.