Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Identifying Your “Red Flags” (part 2 of 2)


The process of self-critiquing is an instrumental tool in helping me identify red flags within myself. If I stop and think about it, I can almost always attribute red flags to me breaking one or more of the CORE Competencies. Each of the following red flags is a warning signal that I have somehow gotten off track, and am on my way to destroying Open Heaven and eventually burnout.

9) Avoiding giving performance reviews. Giving performance reviews is one of the best opportunities I have to touch basis with an employee, ascertain goals and progress, and confer solution options. Too often, performance reviews become a “busy work” formality and this opportunity for improving performance is lost. It is important that I view performance reviews as an opportunity for me to excel in my job – which is assisting the employee to excel in their job.

10) I begin to fear confrontation. Confrontation fosters growth. If I fear confronting my employees, some will sense it and will begin to “ride rough-shod” over my position, dictating their own terms. When this happens, I lose the respect and allegiance of all my staff. I must view and embrace necessary confrontation as a healthy and constructive tool of my position.

11) I lose sight of my real purpose as manager. The more focused I become on procedures and analytic objectives, the less I am able to perceive the emotional needs of my staff. It’s too easy to get so caught up in the doing that I lose sight of being. When this happens, I tend to regard employees as functions rather than people. Functions are things to be used – people are not. If I use people, I will violate all the CORE Competencies and single handedly destroy Open Heaven.

12) I become friends with members of my staff. I am not a friend to members of my staff. I do not go out to a ball game, barbeque, date, play cards, or go on vacations with members of my staff. I can like and love them, but I must remain separate, not higher than, but separate from them if I am to be effective as manager. If I allow this boundary to be crossed, I can no longer objectively have their best interests at heart. Employees will turn on one another, feeling slighted and accusing favoritism. I lose trust, respect, and become impotent in conflict mediation, “come to Jesus” meetings, performance reviews, and counseling.

13) Doubting my decision-making ability creates within me a fear of failing. Eventually, my fear of failing will become greater than my desire to succeed and this will render me impotent and ineffectual. Staff needs assurance that someone competent is “manning the helm.” My staff needs someone they can trust and believe in who they know has their best interests at heart. This leaves them free to venture out and take the risks which initiate growth. If they do not have confidence in my watching their backs, they spend too much time looking over their own shoulders to have confidence in themselves.

14) Losing the “buy in” of my staff. In Open Heaven, it is important to let staff participate in the planning of what and how things are going to be done. The real value in the inclusion of staff is that 1) I get feedback as to their understanding of the goals and objectives and 2) they take “ownership” of what is planned. If what I do or say isn’t logical or doesn’t make sense to them, staff will not effectively follow through. In effect, they will not take ownership, and without ownership, they will actually “buy out.”

15) Codependency. When I find myself working on an employee’s success harder than they are willing to work on it, I’ve crossed over the line from being supportive to enabling. I cannot want something for an employee more than they want it.

This usually happens when I see unrealized potential in someone which they can’t see in themselves. I know what they’re capable of becoming and the heights to which they can excel, and I become inspired to help them develop. The problem is: a) not everyone is capable of perceiving their potential, b) not everyone cares, or c) not everyone is willing to do the work necessary to achieve their full potential.

I must remember that I can lead a horse to water, but I can’t make it drink. My job is to make it thirsty. The harder I work at making someone thirsty and still they refuse to drink, the more frustrated, disappointed, disillusioned, and depressed I become. Also, the more time I spend on a particular individual who doesn’t appreciate it, the more time I don’t spend on someone with less potential who does want it.

Over the years, I’ve learned I’d rather work with an inspired individual with nominal talent, than I would with a gifted individual who could care less.

16) I start detaching from my employees. When I become overwhelmed or annoyed with the problems of my staff and wish they would “stop whining” or would just “grow up,” I have lost focus on why I am there in the first place. I will find myself detaching and avoiding dealing with them and their problems. Definitely a sign of burnout, I need to take immediate action.

17) People begin commenting that I am spending too much time at work. This may include employees, family, or friends. This is a sign that I am losing focus on the “bigger picture.” Remember earlier we spoke of “balance” being the secret to a happy and successful life? When I begin obsessing on any one particular aspect of my life, the other parts of my life will suffer. Eventually, these parts which are suffering will interfere and damage the part I was obsessing on in the first place. This is also the road to burnout.

At this point, I need more than a time-out. I need a vacation. The irony is I won’t want a vacation, and I won’t think I need one. Usually, it’s not until my third day off that I begin to realize how badly I need one.

-excerpt from “Managing from the Heart – A Way of Life”

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May 26, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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