(Mis)Management

Writer: Mitta Xinindlu

I have seen different management styles and some were shocking.

Faced with the highly competitive environment in which companies operate, their complexity and in which innovation and speed of action are the keys to success, I have decided that management courage is an essential skill.

Demonstrating managerial courage is to tell the right things, at the right time, to the right person and appropriately. In theory, it seems easy but if one could take the time to think well, one could find that the reality is more complex! Courage is essential in a management context and, above all, leadership.

Here are some signs or leads that a manager would gain by developing his managerial courage.

1. Does not take firm positions

The lack of managerial courage is very damaging in terms of productivity and the performance of a team. Also, leaders who suffer from a chronic lack of managerial courage end up losing credibility and respect from their employees. My question regarding this point is: who can feel admiration for a passive, fearful boss who remains in his “comfort zone” and who constantly dreads difficult decisions?

Knowing how to manage requires being able to initiate movement rather than just follow it, and take firm positions when necessary. The captain cannot too often try to avoid tensions, crises or confrontations.

Why is this essential? One may ask. Well, it’s simple; it is because ambiguity is counterproductive.

Faced with a position that is not clear, there will inevitably be nebulous actions on the part of the employees; therefore, a loss of efficiency and potential motivation. Take the example of an employee who asks his boss if he has to go left or right. If there is no response, the employee will have 3 (three) choices: stand still and wait for the directive, go right or go left. Staying still or going in the wrong direction is a loss of efficiency and risk of frustration and error.

Take the other example of a manager who, today, says to go left but tomorrow will say to go right. In this context, the employee loses time, efficiency, and motivation; consequently, his manager loses credibility. If the manager manages 30 employees, then the impact will be multiplied by 30, which is damaging to the business.

2. Does not address problems

The manager has to face the problems and face the truth since avoiding or avoidance rhymes with the loss of time. Also, the manager must always beware of collateral damage.

A manager who delays in addressing an ethical issue may lose a client or an employee and potentially has to handle a complaint. Tackling a problem often causes other problems.

Managerial courage is also to make sure to face reality, to share it and to face it with the team. Any truth is not necessarily good to share and wanting to hide problems is human. Nevertheless, the reality must not be denied because, as a result, the employees will work in the wrong direction and the efforts will be in vain.

What a waste of time and especially what a loss of credibility.

3. Avoids conflicts

Conflicts should be addressed as quickly as possible because, like problems, they can cause significant collateral damage and be counterproductive.

A manager who delays in addressing a conflict or avoids it for fear of being caught in the controversy does not optimise the achievement of short-term outcomes and may have to deal with the collateral damage that is often much greater. Sometimes, expectations allow conflicts to resolve themselves; however, is this the right approach by default? The answer is no! And of course, a manager must also know how to handle conflicts in an optimal way.

4. Hesitates to decide on his staff

A manager who demonstrates managerial courage must know how to address the real things, give direction and decide. A rotten apple is damaging to a team and the longer the decision is made, the more productivity is lost; thus, causing the risk of significant collateral damage. Unfortunately, hesitation has costs.

In the world today, companies that hesitate are overwhelmed by those that are running. Businesses, therefore, need to have action-oriented managers. Usually, those who hesitate generally do so through perfectionism, procrastination or fear of risk, which has the effect of delaying the necessary actions at the right time.

5. Does not know how to announce a difficult decision

It is easier to manage in calm times, on calm and sunny waters, than in the storm. That said, a true leader with managerial courage must announce the bad news, know how to navigate in troubled waters and make the tough decisions that are required. He must know how to deal with pressure but must also have the courage to take calculated risks quickly.

It is equally important to announce it with diplomacy, constructively and appropriately, depending on the context – as well as to exercise sound judgment.

6. Does not say everything that has to be said

We are all witnesses of things that must be addressed: something went wrong, a fault was camouflaged, someone did not do his job, a professional ethics breach was committed, a lie, a secrecy, and so on. Some choose to address things while others choose silence and avoidance.

To have courage is to know how to give, directly, to those concerned a complete “feedback” by expressing it positively and constructively. Attention to detail must be given; however, because it can also happen that managerial courage is used in excess, too much is not enough!

Is your manager too critical and direct? Too harsh or too negative? Does he exaggerate the bad side? All that is needed is a question of dosage and especially of judgment.

Saying the real things is also accepting one’s vulnerability as a manager. Having the courage to be vulnerable as a manager, the courage to be himself and accountable, even in the wrong, is the cornerstone of inspiring leadership.

The manager who knows everything, who never takes the wrong decision, who has an answer to everything and that nothing can shake is not only a myth but also an ideal to which one should not aspire. We are all inspired by genuine people – thus, having the courage to admit their vulnerability, to ask for help and to show real feelings is courageous.

Do your managers accumulate many of the previous points? Maybe it is a sign that they would gain in developing their managerial courage!

Why do they lack courage? The causes can be multiple, including: wanting to avoid conflicts, low tolerance to pressure, difficulties to assert oneself, fear of being wrong or losing, being too emotional, or simply not loving to meddle in the affairs of others.

In this context, it is essential to understand their personality and management style, understand the causes to know what to work on.

Courage is to know one’s limits and to know how to surpass them.

Good luck!