Three “Qualities” of a Manager that Make Me Nervous

A person working on a laptop on top of a table

1. They’re striving for perfection

Okay let’s drop the fancy terms, this typically is the manager that believes they don’t need professional advice from someone in the HR or OD industry. According to them, they have already seen and heard it all.

Here’s the thing about people who view themselves as what I am loosely referring to as “perfect”. They tend to be:

  • all or nothing
  • all about the goal
  • about outward appearances
  • about what we “technically” do (please excuse my excessive use of quotations)

This would be great if business was stagnant and people were predictable.

2. They’re always formulating a “But

Now, these individuals recognize the value in the wisdom from the HR or OD industry. Yet their belief system is slightly tuned affecting their ability to truly be receptive to the answers they are seeking. These beliefs commonly include:

  • they clearly don’t understand where I work or what I do
  • they seriously have never met some of my employees
  • people don’t actually do this stuff that they talking about

They are so preoccupied convincing themselves that it won’t work, that they basically conclude this is the way it has to be. It makes me sad, how many times I have heard individuals say,

“You just don’t get it, it can’t change.” My response is always, “You have decided it can’t change so it won’t.”

3. They hardly smile and practically never laugh

Can I just say? Lighten up. Just because you’re a manager does not mean all of the human has to be sucked out of you and if you are nodding your head or smirking right now, you know exactly who I am talking about.

One of my favorite memories involves traveling with a retailer COO to do store visits. If I had to classify him, I would say that he had a dry sense of humor. Anyway, during his store visits, he had a habit of making ridiculous commentary like,

“Can’t you sync up these singing frogs to sing and dance all day long? Don’t you think it would boost your sales?”

The store manager would almost always instantly begin to think of a way to rig these things up. Eventually, they would catch on that he was kidding. This is what I like to call executive evidence that he was human.

Lacking a human element, in my personal opinion is a set-up for disaster. Even the perception, makes you unapproachable. If you’re viewed as unapproachable, then I sure hope you can be everywhere at once, because I can guarantee that your people are not going to tell you one word or provide any hints.

So if we shouldn’t focus on perfection and buts, what should we do with our light-hearted selves?

Focus on growth! We expect our people to continue to grow and achieve amazing thing, our personal standard should be on different.

Growth is about little by little. 
Growth is more about the journey. 
Growth is about what happens on the inside. 
Growth is about who we’re becoming.

Growth is what we do at Leadership Arts Associates.

What “qualities” of managers make YOU nervous?

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