7 Hidden Management Mistakes: Part 1

Written by Jim Rossini,
Executive Vice President of nGROUP

Within the past decade, I have assessed, managed or implemented engineered workforce management programs that utilize a large concentration of workers at over 100 facilities. Many of these facilities are within the Fortune 100 arena. The most common objectives we collaboratively agree upon prior to implementing our engineered labor solution are reduce labor cost, improve facility throughput and reduce risk associated with labor. The majority of companies have already addressed the common management mistakes: communication, culture, recognition, goal setting, etc…. However, there are seven hidden management mistakes that are not so obvious and just as significant. Here is an overview of the Seven Hidden Management Mistakes (SHMM).

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1. The Jefferson’s: Moving on Up
Every supervisor wants to move up to that apartment in the sky.  The one with the corner office and their name written outside of the door. The hidden mistake here is that managers migrate the best and brightest away from the place where everything happens, the production floor. The production floor* is the bank that produces the money to pay for everything in that corner office:  the administrative team, the lights, the pencils, etc…. Taking your key employees away from the hub of your companies production leaves the $12 / hour employees to manage tens of millions of dollars.

2. Walk Bombs
The GM or management daily walk through is very common and typically required by upper management to insure employees are engaged with the business. Too often these walks turn into “walk bombs.” The tiniest observation is blown out of proportion. Management blows up on the employees and dictates the team to concentrate an over-abundance of tactical issues with negative impact to performance.

3. First Responder
The first responder is probably the most common of the SHMM. A piece of information is delivered and acted upon immediately without funneling through a resolution process. Therefore, the issue is never fixed and additional problems began to affect operation. The first person to surface the issue is protected from blame and a “hot potato” dynamic develops.  The blame is passed around from person to person based on jaded points of view or partial information.

4. The Tortoise nor the Hare
Many managers subscribe to the tortoise production pace. This very slow, steady approach insures quality is always delivered above the established requirements. When pace picks up, these managers become uncomfortable and do not think the hare can win the race. They believe increased pace leads to quality errors and sloppy finished goods. The reality is neither the tortoise nor the hare is the answer. A cheetah-like approach is the answer. The cheetah’s objectives are to attack without being hurt. They can utilize blazing speed because of their ability to balance.

5. Allen Iverson
It is easy to fall into the mistake of promoting personnel based on their contributions as individuals. Allen Iverson was an NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA number one draft pick, eleven time NBA All Star, NBA League scoring champion four times, and a two time All Star MVP. While Iverson’s credentials were outstanding as an individual,  he was not a good leader and never delivered his team a NBA championship.

6. The Orphan
Everyone has heard the axiom, “success has many Fathers and failure is an orphan.” I have witnessed a repetitive tendency in management to pin a failure on an individual or one distinct area operation. They are publicly humiliated or even terminated as a result and the issue is never resolved. Silos quickly form and personnel concentrate on covering their exposure instead of driving performance improvements.

7. General Patton
Everyone has experienced some level of the General Patton.  Your good idea was plagiarized by a higher level manager and they get credit upon implementation.  The notion that “good idea’s only come from the top brass” is certainly one of the most frequent SHMM’s. The fact is, a good idea stands on its own merit and it shouldn’t matter if it comes from a minimum wage employee or General Patton himself.

My next article in the series will discuss the “The Jefferson’s: Moving on Up” in more depth and provide solid solutions to eliminate this costly mistake from your business.

*production floor could mean distribution floor, manufacturing floor, processing floor, office floor or any floor within a business. It is too cumbersome to list each floor every time.