March 28, 2007

Ten Signs of an Incompetent [Academic] Leader

Poor leadership surrounds us, it's a fact of life and they seemingly find a way to keep their jobs. They are more focused on their personal needs and not of the professional needs of those below them. They have a hard time developing their employees because they lack the proper management techniques to do so. A leader is someone who you would follow to a place you would not go alone. Leadership is about action not status.

However, the question is, how do we know when we are dealing with these flaw ridden individuals. A lot of the time, a poor manager can make the perception that he/she is busy and organized. I have developed a small guideline that can help pinpoint these leaders.

Incompetent [Academic] Leaders will:

1. Delegate work rather than balance work loads. This allows all attention to be diverted from them in case of failure. It may seem to them that are managing their people but in actuality they are creating work imbalances within the group. It can create unnecessary overtime for some and under utilization of others. A good manager is aware of the skill sets of all the people below them and should allocate work accordingly while trying to enhance the skills of everyone to be even more productive.

2. Reduce all answers to Yes or No rather than explaining their reasoning. This is an example of a crisis manager who can not think farther than a few hours ahead. A yes/no manager finds it a waste of time to find the real answer through intellectual thought. They are already thinking about the next crisis.

3. Not separate personal life from professional life. They will bring their personal problem to work. Working for these types of managers can be very dramatic. They are unable to separate their emotional imbalances while trying to manage people. They are less focused and will not give you the attention and direction you need for success.

4. Manage crisis. If you are a company that has crisis managers, then you can say goodbye to innovation and progression. Proactive thinking is critical to the success of any company. If you are not finding ways to stop or reduce the amount of crisis that has to be managed, then your competition will pass you by. Leaders have to think out of the box and make change.

5. Create an environment where mistakes are unacceptable. Being held accountable for wrong decisions is a fear for them. Making mistakes only helps you become a better person, manager, etc. I use the analogy of a basketball player that has no fouls. If they are not going for the ball and taking chances with their opponent, then they are trying hard enough. Take a chance and don't be scared.

6. Humiliate or reprimand an employee within a group. This is a clear and visible sign of a poor leader. A good leader takes employee problems away from a group setting to a more private setting. If you have a boss that does this, it is time for a visit to human resources.

7. Not stand behind subordinates when they fail. Never leave your people to hang out to dry. Always back them up, right, wrong, or indifferent. If an employee tries their best in a situation and they fail to come through. They should be commended on their effort and not punished for the failure

8. Encourage hard workers not smart workers. I am not impressed with hard workers. A hard worker is usually defined by hours. Smart workers are the ones that I hire and embrace. Smart workers understand the concept of time management and multi-tasking. Poor leaders miss this connection. Smart workers are methodical in their thinking and can generally be successful because of their abilities management projects and time. Hard workers may take twice as long to do the work. It is important to assign work accordingly to the skills and personalities

9. Judge people on hours not performance. This is similar to #8. Again, I am not impressed with overtime junkies. They have lost all perspective on a healthy family/balance. Bad managers will promote the employees that work the most hours and not look at the smart ones who work less, meaning have better time management. Stop watching the lock.

10. Act differently in front of their leaders. This is an indication of low self-confidence. They have doubts about their own ability to lead and they will act like little children when authority is present. A confident person acts the same around everyone. Remember, have respect for them, but also have self-respect.

By Chris Ortiz, from:


Trickmind said...

My father was bullied out of his job as a Law Professor because he has Aspergers. When he went into hospital for a heart operation someone in the department on his "get well card" "It's so nice here without you. Hope you die soon."

Anonymous said...

In Ireland, and in Waterford Institute of Technology in particular, there is a culture of massive political appointments of lecturers that stifles creativity, undermines the college and keeps qualified people and talented people out. This unfair system needs to stop. You can have 30 letters after your name in Ireland and be unemployed. Meanwhile, the politically connected with only 2 or 3 letters after their name are given the big jobs.