Gartner Blog Network


Signs of weak management

by Mark P. McDonald  |  July 17, 2009  |  18 Comments

I may get in trouble for this but here are some personal observations about management going on in companies.  This is all personal observation.

Stress brings out the best and worst of people and organizations enabling you to see either the cracks beneath the veneer or a core strength.  The strength of your management team is one of the things that show up best in this stress.

How do you know that you have a weak management team?

Here are some observations presented a little tongue – n – cheek:

  • Blame storming – as meetings admire the problem groups as the sit around describing how things got this way and who should be responsible.  (Note: borrowing from a Comcast TV ad)
  • Little Red Hen - “not I said the executive” exists where there are high levels of responsibility with little to no accountability
  • Strategic constipation – where everyone knows what has to be done, they feel the pressure but no one is willing to go first
  • Working your way stupid – where the more the company does the less intelligence and knowledge they create either through an unwillingness to learn or a dogged determination to do the same thing and expect a different result.
  • Heard it on the grapevine — the rumor mill is most accurate source of information as either official communications read like a G8 resolution (don’t say much) or they are so late in coming out that they are irrelevant.
  • Management by McCarthyism – the pursuit and branding of people based on their past relationships or involvements in projects.
  • Sophie’s list metrics – “the truth what is the truth” the definition of what is good changes to the point that it loses connection with reality.

I am sure that there are others and I will try update the post as more come to mind. I have been advised to think about writing shorter blog entries, which is a good idea so I will try to take at least one of these on in detail in future posts.

Remember that these these posts are personal observation and are a bit acerbic in their tone, so they do not reflect the views of Gartner or the Gartner Blog Network. I will also post the more radical responses on my personal blog at http://businessleadershipandtech.blogspot.com/

What are the signs you see of weak management?  How would you describe them?  And what can you do about them?

Thanks

Category: personal-observation  signs-of-weak-management  strategy  

Tags: business-management  management  personal-musing  personal-observation  stupid-management-tricks  

Mark P. McDonald
GVP EXP
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Signs of weak management


  1. Andrew Meyer says:

    Great post!

    Following your lead, here are a few indications of weak management I’ve seen (and occasionally engaged in or benefited from)

    Wizards from Oz: Consultants paid to say or do things management doesn’t want to say or do themselves.

    Good Time Girls: Only talking the upside of projects and never mentioning the costs/ramifications/problems/ROI.

    Persistent Petes: People who continually suggest projects until their managers feel sorry for them or are too tired of saying no, so they allow the project to start knowing full well it’s purposeless or going to die sooner or later.

    The Me Toos: Every other kid got a project, I never get projects, why don’t I get one?

    The Rasputins: Usually technologists who are so carried away and passionate about something that people sign off on it just because they are so excited – the fact that they have no idea what the person wants to do somehow doesn’t seem to matter.

  2. Mark McDonald says:

    Andrew

    Thanks for your additions to the list they are very interesting. Do you mind if I add them to the list? Also it would be great if you could comment on these and more importantly how to combat these signs of weak management.

    Mark

  3. Andrew Meyer says:

    Mark,

    I’d please honored if you added them to the list.

    I can put together a list of how I combat them and send it to you. There’s only one exception. I can’t combat them where they apply to me. I’m not that evolved of a caveman.

    Andy

  4. Mark McDonald says:

    Alex

    I would appreciate your ideas on how to combat the signs you have in your list and fold them into this blog-line with proper attribution of course.

    Your comment brings out an important point in that we are all weak managers at times, but the fact that we recognize the times when we are weaker managers is an important start.

    Look forward to your list and ideas — if you want my email is mark.mcdonald “at” gartner.com.

    Mark

  5. […] You may want consider a collection of other comments about management pitfalls in this other postSigns of Weak Management […]

  6. […] can be a four-letter word in the hands of weak managers.  However, in the hands of skilled managers it is the means for coordination, engagement and […]

  7. […]  This piece seems to have missed its posting.  Its part of a series on  Signs of Weak Management so please consider this as part of that series, just a little out of […]

  8. […] blog has discussed various signs of weak management (see link to the core post).  Here is another one related to financial planning and […]

  9. […] The point here is not that technology can monitor or in this case, pre-monitor your communications. Rather the observation that such pre-monitoring absolves managers from having to do their job. That is a sign of weak management. […]

  10. […] Raising revenues is harder than cutting cost, which is one reason executives favor cost cutting.  Most think that raising revenue is hard because it requires turning prospects into customers and having them spend more with you.  That is true.  But.  The quest for revenue is hard because it carries with it greater internal disruption, finger pointing, blame storming, ect.  All the signs of weak management. […]

  11. Bashir says:

    This is a subcription request for received updated.

  12. […] Inadequate management capability and capacity, who treat the symptom of a performance problem as the cause of the problem and basis for the solution. […]

  13. […] Signs of weak management – post that links to other posts detailing various signs of weak business management […]

  14. […] The yellow boxes describe the negative outcomes that arise when you play the wrong role.  Leaders become blind when they concentrate on driving their organization toward compliance through behaving like an administrator.  These are the situations that lead to signs of weak management.  […]

  15. […] The yellow boxes describe the negative outcomes that arise when you play the wrong role.  Leaders become blind when they concentrate on driving their organization toward compliance through behaving like an administrator.  These are the situations that lead to signs of weak management.  […]

  16. […] Signs of Weak Management  […]

  17. […] Signs of Weak Management  – post that connects with 12 specific signs of weak management […]



Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.