Leadership Attraction

Many individuals are reluctant to admit that a person’s appearance may influence how others perceive them as a leader. Let’s take a trip back to the future.

Spanning nearly two years, the 2008 presidential campaign was historical on several fronts. It was the longest presidential campaign and the most expensive in history. It was the first time that two US senators would run against each other and New York Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton was the first serious woman presidential candidate and Senator Barak Obama was the first African American nominated by a major party for president.

However, the Republican Party had a share of history also. The Republican ticket consisted of Arizona Senator John McCain, who sought to become the oldest person elected president to a first term in America, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was to become the first woman vice president candidate for the Republican Party. On November 4, 2008, Obama became the first African American to become president.  Did Trait Theory play a part in his strategy?

Leadership characteristics are important factors in the presidency that many pragmatists dismiss. Trait Theory suggests that certain individuals possess special innate qualities that make them the preferred leader. Qualities, such as height, intelligence, extroversion, and other noble traits are components of Trait Theory (See Table 7.1 in Impending Danger). Focusing on the 2008 elections, some would argue that both McCain and Obama possessed leadership qualities and support Trait Theory. However, the question must be posed ‘Which candidate best benefited from the outward perception of what a leader should look like?”

First, physical characteristics are what most individuals see first. In this presidential election, some of the physical traits included height, age, and race. Some people have identified strong physical characteristics as a perquisite for leadership selection. This application can easily be seen in athletics and activities that require great physical ability. Obama hovered over McCain in terms of physical stature. Obama was thought to be 6 feet 1 inch while McCain was 5 feet 9 inches. Obama, being tall and sturdy, would overshadow a much shorter and frail McCain. In many people’s minds, the election was much more about optics than content in some cases.

For example, the presidential debates also demonstrated showmanship. Political organizers worried how their candidates would be viewed by the voters. Therefore, the style of the debate was always a strategic consideration for the McCain camp. This reality was a major concern to McCain’s campaign because of the public perception. Obama was noticeably taller. Two of the three presidential debates in the fall were seated debates, perhaps to neutralize Obama’s height advantage.

Race was the mysterious factor in the election. There was no consensus on the role of race with some experts concluding race would have a significant impact (the Bradley effect) while others predicted that Obama’s race would aid his candidacy given the guilt, sympathy, and compensatory factors for the legacy of racism.

 According to a CNN Exit Poll (16,000 participants) of the presidential election, twice as many of those polled said age was an important factor in their vote as those who indicated race. Specifically, 78% went for Obama to 21% for McCain among voters who thought age was important. However, individuals who said race was an important factor voted 55% to 44% in favor of Obama. However, Obama also was the winner for people who said race was not important.

Second, intrinsic character attributes were also a significant factor. Most people admitted that Obama had star power. He was able to bring record number of crowds to his rallies. Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell supported Obama which broke ranks from his Republican Party: “He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure.”

Yet, both candidates attempted to frame their opponent in a character framework. Feeding on the perceived eloquence of Obama, McCain’s strategy was to paint Obama as a celebrity and elitist. Additionally, McCain tried to use Obama’s articulate speech and his charisma with his followers as void of any substance. Obama had his own method for framing McCain. Obama attempted to portray McCain as the third-term of President Bush.

Last, political strategists sought out ways to best showcase their candidate while highlighting any character flaws in the opposition. The results showed that voter perception counts. Obama was viewed as the agent of change while McCain was viewed as part of the current establishment. Given the fact that Obama won every major demographic in the election, Trait Theory may have played a role in the outcome of the election.

Does having good looks really matter in our PC culture? If so, why?  Is there any value in applying Trait Theory to 21st Century organizations?

© 2011 by Daryl D. Green

Overcoming Past Failures

Another holiday season has come. After the presents have been given and the year comes to a close, many people will reminisce about the past year. Sadly, some people’s lives will be filled with many defeats, broken relationships, and unfulfilled dreams. These may setbacks may be relatively minor in nature (Pastor Richard S. Brown of Knoxville notes, “For many people, the holidays season bring great pressure and stress…We stress that we can’t get everyone something for Christmas?”) or they may be much more serious. Every year I run across individuals who have lost hope.

Unemployment continues to rise while self-confidence of individuals continues to falter. In my book Breaking Organizational Ties, I provided strategies for individuals caught in jobs they despise and showed them how to possess a more fulfilled life. The holiday season can leave many individual depressed and bitter. This article examines how individuals can overcome past failures this year and retool their minds during the holiday season.

The economic crisis deflates the concept of perseverance. According to the U.S. Labor Department employers added only 39,000 jobs in November, which is a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October. With a weak economy, the unemployment rate has soared to 9.8%. The current trend of above-9% unemployment rate has surpassed the previous record. Over 15 million people are unemployed. A further 17% are under-employed. And there were a record 1.3 million “discouraged” workers in November. Discouraged workers are individuals not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.

Given these statistics, good cheer may be harder to come by this year, making those “holiday blues” even more of a potential problem. According to a Mayo Clinic study, optimistic individuals report a higher level of physical and mental functioning than pessimists. Your perception colors how you view life. Can healing begin with the right kind of attitude?

Depression can develop for anybody. Christian Maslach and Michael Leiter, authors of The Truth about Burn-out, note that stress can burn out individuals and impact their mental state. In fact, many people are succeeding in the corporate environment while failing miserably at their personal relationships. If you are human, you will experience some disappointments. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how someone can get depressed. Some call it a “Pity Party.”

 You become engulfed in your own self-pity—you figure you got it bad. Can anyone hurt as much as you? During the holidays, some people are left alone to face the realities of life. This period can bring much unhappiness. Some people, however, manage to snap out of depression while others get too consumed in it and take harsher actions such as suicide. Don’t let yourself down. Take action.

The following are a few strategies for beating the blues: (a) Put things in perspective. Everyone has experienced some setbacks in life. God is not singling you out; (b) Maintain a good attitude; (c) Establish a strong support network. A positive environment will help you get through; (d) Talk to a good listener. Get it off your chest; and (e) Find a purpose for your life. Ex-Dallas Cowboys player Larry Robinson explains, “The awesomeness of who we are, has nothing to do with where we work or what we do.” With this in mind, many people will need to implement a different strategy for next year.

Highly successful people know how to retool their minds despite life’s many set-backs. Last year, many people over-promised and underachieved on their goals during the economic crisis. Certainly, depression set in for some of the 15 million unemployed Americans, causing some women to grow weary and some men to grow angry. For millions of individuals, a pity party was a regular affair.

Historically speaking, self-pity is nothing new. Even the prophet Jeremiah complained to God about the unfairness of his situation. God spoke to his concern: “Jeremiah, if you get tired in a race against people, how can you possibly run against horses? If you fall in open fields, what will happen in the forest along the Jordan River?” Likewise, individuals must be persistent during the current economic crisis and a good outlook goes a long way. Your attitude will greatly impact how you retool your life so that you can be successful in the future. 

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Knowledge Worker Revolution

 

If I had a magical organizational wand, I would turn old toady CEOs into beautiful princes and princesses who champion the causes of their workers. Unfortunately, there’s not enough magic from Oz to convince most executives that today’s workers are more than mechanical parts to their profit machine. During this discussion, we will explore the concept of knowledge workers in organizations.

Some employees feel they are often undervalued and unappreciated by their managers. For example, my friend, Stan, is a very intelligent person in spite of not attending college. He accepted a new job as warehouse operator. Because of downsizing, he became the only person in that department. Stan created his own cataloging system without a computer. That was impressive.

When Stan was up for a raise, he asked for more money. His supervisor explained that it couldn’t be done. My friend countered that he had optimized their warehouse systems, and the operations depended on his knowledge. His supervisor knew it was true because when Stan wasn’t there, no one could find anything.

Stan got what he wanted. He had become a knowledge commodity. This represents the revolution of knowledge workers on the traditional organizational structure. Therefore, if today’s leaders don’t adequately manage the knowledge workforce, they will be at a competitive disadvantage.

Knowledge workers are a critical commodity. Gareth Morgan, author of Imagination, argues that contemporary use of organizational charts and diagrams are major tools for restructuring. However, this creates a false sense that a new organizational chart can solve all of the organization’s problems. Modern-day bosses feel that “top down” management is best. Clearly, they are mistaken.

Georg Krogh, Kazuo Ichijo, and Ikujiro Nonaka, authors of Enabling Knowledge Creation, maintain that knowledge management (KM) is not one person’s job; everyone in organizations can play a vital role in transferring  information. As a rule, an organization’s knowledge and capacity building depends primarily on its human and social capital. In most contemporary organizations, technology can be a critical tool in supporting the knowledge work.

Yet, knowledge workers create and capture information for the management of knowledge. In fact, KM is performed by individuals who belong to communities of interest where knowledge is shared and accumulated. Therefore, effective management of today’s operations depends on talented and gifted knowledge workers.

How do today’s organizations better engage knowledge workers due an era of sweeping layoffs and outsourcing? 

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Fueling Intellectual Assets

When I wrote my first book, My Cup Runneth Over: Setting Goals for Single Parents and Working Couples, it took me two months to write and less than a year to get published (it normally takes 18 months to three years to get published).  People were amazed at my publishing accomplishments.

My world was transformed, from being a little unknown engineer in Tennessee to being a respected expert and quoted by USA Today and Ebony Magazine.  It provided a great avenue for influencing others across the country and the world.  Additionally, it provided me with a more diverse portfolio of passive income and revenue.  In the greater scheme of thinking, I found out that my new platform was centered, not on the physical book—but on the creation of intellectual assets. 

As organizations contend with global competition, many businesses will need to rethink their strategies for sustainability in the knowledge and innovation economy.  Across the nation, companies are depending more on freelance workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers placed by temporary staffing agencies rose by 404,000 since September 2010. Furthermore, many gifted, laid-off workers are forced to become independent contractors and freelancers.  According to the Freelancer Union, 18% of its members were forced to give up health insurance in 2009 while 39% cut back coverage.  This trend is reshaping America’s workforce.

Yet, value creation will be the key to opening endless opportunities for today’s businesses.  We complain about the rate of manufacturing jobs going abroad and how this reality impacts the quality of living. Perhaps the future will be ruled not by the tangible but the intangible.  In fact, the knowledge economy will wreak havoc on traditional thinking. 

 

Thomas Davenport and Kevin Desouza, intellectual strategists, argue the importance of organizations understanding their intellectual assets: “In the industrial economy, a key component of mass production and productivity—and hence economic growth—was the reuse of physical assets: molds, templates, castings and so forth.  Although so much of the economy is now based on intellectual assets, we have yet to achieve a similar level of reuse and productivity improvement for that class of asset.”  In this discussion, we will look at how intellectual assets will fuel the future.

Henrik Vejlgaard, author of Anatomy of a Trend, argues that emerging trends are influenced by gifted people, including entrepreneurs, designers, and artists.  Vejlgaard notes that these people “create new products or invent new styles or begin doing something in a completely new way.”  In the old days, creative people were the butt of jokes pertaining to finding sustainable employment.  

Yet, the future will belong to just these people, as many organizations across the world will need this asset to enhance their survivability.  Fueling the knowledge economy will be knowledge creation (intellectual asset creation) and knowledge management (intellectual asset management).

An important ingredient for the knowledge economy is the creation, use, storage, and positioning of an organization’s intellectual assets.  Intellectual assets are valuable elements created by human ingenuity: written documents, software, musical compositions, and other intellectual spin-offs.  Intellectual assets can be divided into two categories, product assets and process assets.  Product assets are the specific outputs of knowledge work such as software programs or legal briefs.  

In contrast, process assets are codified knowledge about how to perform a task such as manufacturing steps for a new product.  Some countries have already realized the critical value of intellectual assets.  In May 2004, the Ministerial Council in France studied how intellectual assets impacted value creation, growth, and economic performance.  The study noted, “The continuous shift toward a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy has brought to the forefront the issue of how knowledge is created, disseminated, retained and used to obtain economic returns.”

Intellectual assets will place individuals at the center stage of wealth creation across the globe.  Today, traditional publishers struggle to stay in business as the world has been overrun by knowledge creation.  Many experts will argue that the Big 6 (Random House, Inc., Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Time Warner, and Simon & Schuster) dominate the publishing world.  Yet, the world is changing.  

According to a Para Publishing study, traditional publishers are in trouble.  In 2004, more than 1.8 million books were in print.  A new book is published every 30 seconds.  With challenges from the global economies, digital publishing models, and industry standard changes, major publishers are bombarded with changes that impact their bottom-line.  In 2002, major publishers decreased output by 5% yet titles published rose by 6%. 

What is driving the publishing industry now?  It is independent publishers and literary entrepreneurs emerging in this digital age.  In fact, 70% of the titles are now coming from small or self-publishers. In the digital age, individuals can transform one idea into multiple formats including paper back, hardcover, MP3 files, DvD, and other downloadable files.  Therefore, knowledge creators are building an empire of intellectual assets.  Websites like Createspace.com and Lulu.com give individuals the power to create wealth while building influence effortlessly.

What modifications will need to be made in the publishing model to incorporate intellectual assets created by entrepreneurs? How can organizations take advantage of these gifted creators in their organizations and still fully control their knowledge management processes?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Human Factor Buy-in

 

Steve Proud gets his biggest promotion as the latest senior executive to run this troubled business. With lots of talent and experience, the organization struggles to meet performance goals. Being on the fast-track, Steve quickly makes significant changes to impress the corporate board. He fires the old managers and surrounds himself with the better talent. His team rolls out a comprehensive strategic plan.

The corporate board starts seeing positive results.  However, things change within two years. Many employees view Steve as a ‘paper manager.’ Despite his ‘talk about empowering workers,’ his actions demonstrate he cares little about any worker’s opinions. Steve cannot understand why his strategy failed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Most organizations move swiftly ahead reacting to market forces without truly empowering workers to make organizational decisions. Managers preach that employees are a critical asset to an organization’s bottom-line. However, few managers ever show it. Given that percept, we will discuss the final component of effective socio-technical systems. It is the human factor buy-in. Organizations must shift their paradigm to viewing workers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives.

According to a USA Today poll, nearly half of those interviewed said that corporations can be trusted only a little, or not at all, when it involves looking out for the best interest of employees. Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspective, argue that a leader’s credibility is directly related to the quality of his relationship with followers.

Marios Katsioloudes, a researcher specializing in socio-technical analysis, explains that as profitability of mechanization increases, the importance of technology is implied while there is a devaluation of the workers. Clearly, U.S. businesses cannot point to the lack of employee performance for mismanagement errors.

Japan, a long-time benchmark for American companies, is being defeated by American employees. Today, the average U.S. worker puts in 36 more hours than Japanese workers (1,825 vs. 1,789). Over the last two decades, balancing work and home life have been difficult since Americans have added 200 hours to their annual work schedule.

Employees want to be valued. Felix Harris, a financial director with over 8 years in the banking industry, acknowledges the importance of people in a socio-technical system. He states, “When employees are appreciated, they work harder.  A machine is only as good as its operator.”  Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of The Human Equation, acknowledges that organizational success is directly related to implementation, and this capacity comes from the workers, how they are treated, their skills, and their efforts as it relates to the organization.

Managers should see followers as more than mechanical parts for their organizational objectives. Managers assume that giving employees new technology is enough to keep them happy. Likewise, leaders should view followers as vital components of the socio-technical system.

Today’s managers in technical organizations must understand the delicacy of balancing a socio-technical system. The recent mirage of culture changes such as outsourcing, scandals, and unethical dealings by both governmental and business senior managers have made American employees skeptical about the seriousness of organizations implementing corporate values into their workplace.

Furthermore, today’s executives are falling short in promoting the desired values to support socio-technical systems due to understanding the value of employee buy-in.

In fact, this insight would be valuable to any manager, trying to integrate the man – human interface mechanism. Understanding the uniqueness of the socio-technical system may increase leadership effectiveness and better management strategies for your organization.

How can organizations best gain employee buy-in when they possess less than a stellar track record of worker empowerment?  

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Model the Way

World hurdler, Jackie Coward (University of Central Florida, West alumni)

Track does not lie. Watching our children compete with the Knoxville Track Club, I learned this important lesson. An athlete needs to have substance, and coaches need to be proficient in their strategies.  All the smoke and mirrors in the world will not change an individual’s time or measurement.

Likewise, leaders emerge and falter by the examples they set before the team. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, evaluated over hundreds of high performance organizations to determine how they were successful. One of the ingredients was managers ‘model the way.’ In fact, leaders set the right example. I saw this example symbolized in two athletes at West High School.

The West High School Track Team has built a solid name for itself, with All-American hurdler Jackie Coward at the helm.  While many people around the area figured West would faded into the wilderness with the graduation of Coward, West got better by creating a talented and deep squad.  Coach Mike Crocket and Coach Greg Allen led a group of young and gifted athletes who were inspired to compete for a state champion. Over the last decade, the girls track team has been pretty amazing: 2006 AAA State Champion, 2007 AAA State Runner-up, 2008 Champion, 2009 AAA State Runner-up and 2010 AAA State Champion. Yet, I attribute their success this year to the two team captains, Aurielle Sherrod and Patavia Lowery.

Aurielle Sherrod, Prepxtra Track & Field Female Athlete of the Year

Going into her senior year, Aurielle was one of the top sprinters in the state. In the early track season, she got a hamstring injury: “I knew it was really bad.” It would hamper her all season. In fact, it was questionable how she would perform at state with little practice. The critics were wrong. Aurielle won the 100 and finished seconded in the 200 meters. She also led the Lady Rebels to wins in the 4 x 100 relay and a second place finish in the 4 x 200 relay. She refused to let her setback prevent her from success. She was voted the Prepxtra Female Track Athlete of the Year. With a 3.9 GPA in high school, Aurielle heads to University of Alabama – Birmingham on an academic scholarship.

Patavia Lowery, Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame’s Female Athlete of the Year

Patavia could be the mascot for overachievers.  Since 7 years old, she competed with the Knoxville Track Club and has been characterized by her hard work ethics.  Entering high school, her goal was to make it to state. Unfortunately, things didn’t happen as quickly. It would take her junior year to make it there. Loaded with a host of unproven talent, West High was looking for something special. At state, Patavia won the 800 meters, anchored a bronze finish in the 4 x 800, and helped provide West with another dominated performance and its 3rd State Championship. At the annual Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on August 5th, she was selected as one of the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame’s Athlete of the Year.  Patavia will be joining South Carolina State University on a full track scholarship and will bring her Tennessee work ethic to this program. Clearly, these ladies set the example for excellent at West. The team responded.

Sadly, many managers are unable to inspire today’s workforce toward greater performance. Manager guru Peter Drucker argued for several decades that managers must understand their employees as well as their customers. Few executives listened. Drucker concluded, “Business tends to drift from leadership to mediocrity. And the mediocre is three-quarters down the road to being marginal.” Yet, emerging leaders need to know how to rekindle such emotions in the workplace. Setting an example is one of these keys.

 How do leaders foster the proper examples in organizations?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Countering the Age of Narcissism

I try to pay attention to the game as the assistant coach. However, I am bombarded by begging from players on the bench: “Brother Green, can I get back into the game?” I try to ignore by pointing: “Ask the coach.” Every weekend was like déjà vu for me. A bunch of 8th graders were trying to tell us they were just as good as high school athletes.

These 8th graders were undersized and no match for more experienced ‘ballers.’ The basketball league was designed for high school students. I felt they should be graceful to be allowed to play with our high schoolers. Instead, it was a steady stream of complaints and ingratitude from some 8th graders. I wondered how I got stuck with Gen Next.

Today’s organizations face unprecedented competition from all fronts. Many institutions desperately need to infuse their organizations with fresh leadership and new ideas.  Yet, there is a hesitation for this transformation. Many baby boomers argue that the current generation is not ready.  These young workers are called many names such as Generation Y (Gen Y), Echo Boomers, or Millennials (born 1977 to 2002). Most experts predict the generation will be a major factor in society. There are more than 70 million of them.

However, they have been described in the workplace as lazy and self-absorbed with their own worth. Laura Clark, columnist, argues, “Today’s young workers, it appears, believe they deserve jobs with big salaries, status and plenty of leisure time – without having to put in the hours.” According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters study, there is a new breed of graduate ‘divas’ who expect everything to fall into their laps. These people believe they are a hot commodity in the job market. Yet, their managers describe them as ‘unrealistic,’ ‘self-centered,’ and ‘greedy.’

For the first time in American history, organizations have four different generations in their workforce. Sadly, it’s not without problems. Companies don’t understand this young generation. They desire to share in organizational decisions on day one of employment and be promoted instantaneously. With managers who had to ‘pay their dues.’ The Gen Y mentality is a hard pill to swallow.

Dr. Jean Twenge and Dr. Keith Campbell track this trend of self-absorption in their book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.  They explain, “Narcissism- a very positive and inflated view of the self is everywhere….Understanding the narcissism is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society.”  In the 1960s, individuals led causes for the greater good. During the 1970s, there was a focus on self-admiration. By the 1980s, society had totally gone to ‘looking out for oneself.” 

Unfortunately, some managers distort the work value of this emerging generation by stereotyping them as selfish. Baby boomer managers complain about the difficulty of managing Gen Y employees. But, didn’t these baby boomers raise them to be narcissistic anyway? Therefore, it isn’t fair to label them totally as expecting entitlement.  

Twenge and Campbell note, “Parenting became more indulgent, celebrity worship grew, and reality TV became a showcase of narcissistic people.” One must wonder what Gen Y will pass along to their own children.

As more baby boomers retire, a new generation of leaders will replace them. These new leaders will cross age, gender, race, and geography. I certainly hope that Gen Y can overcome the negativism surrounding them and be prepared to accept future leadership roles.  I pray it’s not too late.

 Is the Age of Narcissism solely a characteristic of Gen Yers?  How can organizations infuse the right kind of team-oriented values, given cross generational conflicts?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

The Confession of a Decision maker

I listen to chatter over the airwaves. Talkshow host Armstrong William leads a merry discussion on South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford.  Armstrong cannot contain himself: “How does Governor Sanford get rid of his Love Jones?” It was a question that was not easily answered. Listeners from South Carolina appeared irritated with this line of questioning.

Many felt the governor had abandoned his wife, children, and the people of South Carolina. On June 24th, Governor Sanford arranged a press conference where he confessed a year-long affair with an Argentine woman. He was missing for more than six days from his office.

At his press conference, political pundits argued Governor Sanford was attempting to save his job, not his family life. He was married and had four sons. Instead of a low-profile strategy, Governor Sanford actively engaged the media, describing his mistress as his “soul mate.”  Clearly, he had lost his mind! His wife Jenny stated, “I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal.”

Unfortunately, Sanford’s decision ruined his political career, strategic alliances, and the trust of the people of South Carolina. Yet, his personal loss was perhaps greater. He lost his marriage and the trust of his children. Therefore, some decision making carries long-term consequences for individuals and organizations.

Have you ever wondered why some people continue to make bad decisions? You see million-dollar celebrities doing it. You can see this action in government officials and business leaders. There are no discriminators. From the very rich to the poorest of the poor, we see people caught in a vicious cycle of bad decision making. Sadly, we can see it much closer than that. We witness relatives making bad decisions. Despite wise counsel, some people continue to make poor decisions.

The Decision Process

Decision making can make or break an organization. Joan Liebler and Charles McConnell, authors of Management Principles for Health Professionals, maintain that decision making is an essential element of management activities at all organizational levels. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, further argue that managers must respond to opportunities and threats. In fact, decision making is a process where individuals analyze and make determinations regarding a problem that is keeping with the organization’s goals and objectives.

Unfortunately, some people feel the decision making process is a solo operation. Some managers can be caught in this trap and disregard the expertise of their workers. Through series after series of bad decisions, the manager may continue on a merry ride of worsening consequences. Two things generally can stop this dead-end trap. The organization stops him or the organization tanks.

In going through a series of bad decisions, a wise person should gain insight. Unfortunately, some individuals who are in charge will learn nothing, thereby earning the label of a foolish manager. Every person, regardless of their background or social standing, can benefit from good decision-making techniques.

The Path Forward

Making the right decision is a difficult process. Like Governor Sanford, many managers don’t take enough time to evaluate short-term decisions for long-term consequences. No one will usually applaud your many good decisions; however, you will probably catch heat over the bad ones.

Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, explains, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.” Therefore, making good decisions goes to the heart of being an effective manager.

How do managers overcome the barriers of making bad decisions during uncertainty? Is it possible for a manager to involve their workers in critical decisions without giving up any authority?

  © 2010 by Daryl D. Green