7 Deadly Management Sins

Reprinted from Chris Mittelstaedt’s column  Eureka  on  Inc.com

How to identify--and root out--your worst human instincts before they infect your team.

If there's one thing that's consistent across all businesses around the world it's human nature. And if the worst parts of human nature start infecting your management techniques, well, then Houston we have a problem.

Here's a secular look at the worst seven instincts and what they can do to your team and your business.
Wrath

Ah, the angry manager. What's better than walking into a meeting and getting yelled at? It may be a highly effective way to release frustration or bully your people into a fear-based work regimen but it really isn't a long-term strategy for encouraging employee engagement or nurturing their willingness to take risks on innovation and volunteer new ideas.
Greed

There is nothing like the boss that announces cutbacks and then shows up with a new Porsche. Making money is fine and there is nothing wrong with it. But getting over on others who suffer so that you can get ahead in a disproportionate way is not motivating. Remember your 18th century history lessons: If you find yourself saying, "Let them eat cake," you might want to rethink your management style.

Sloth

There is a natural human tendency for folks to feel (or gossip) that "employee X doesn't work as hard as employee Y." While some of this may be true (and should be addressed from a performance standpoint), there are honest misunderstandings that arise when staff members don't understand your organizational chart or the responsibilities that go along with different positions. Eliminating bad work behavior and changing it into good behavior is important but just as important is letting everyone know the big picture so that different work requirements and styles (if appropriate) can be understood as part of the broader vision.

Pride

Having self-esteem is important in decision-making. However, starting from the point of view that you can never fail or that all your ideas are gold is just plain unrealistic and fool hardy. Pride can also take the form of hubris. If you find yourself identifying closely with the management team on "The Office," it's time for a bit of self-reflection.

Lust

What is the difference between business passion and business lust?   If business passion is inspiration and excitement for what you do and can do in the future, business lust is conquest without care of consequences. It's good to do a self check-in to make sure that power isn't your motivating factor as a leader, but that you're motivated by commitment to a greater goal for the organization. I love to hire people with passion for what they do. I avoid hiring people who are motivated by personal lusts.

Envy

Do you find yourself thinking that the grass is greener in another colleague's yard? Competition is good, but competitive forces that come from envy can derail your focus and take you in a direction that is not strategic to your long-term goals.
Gluttony

Gotta have it all and unwilling to share with your team? Just remember Daffy Duck in the Ali Baba Bunny cartoon when he was turned into a tiny little version of himself hugging his gold and jumping around yelling "Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!" What you learned in kindergarten still stands: Self control and sharing can build friends, teammates, and alliances that can take you farther than you could imagine.

How to avoid the 7 business sins?

It's tough to overcome some of the more base instincts of human nature but there is one way to help root them out in a work environment: Give your organization meaning. Look beyond yourself and build a company culture that values people and their work as part of a greater whole.  You'll give your employees the ability  to feel like they are  vital contributors to something great.

I believe that profitability, while necessary for the sustainability of a business, should not define its meaning. In my business I like to talk about how making money is just the air we need to breathe to stay alive, but our lives are not defined just by breathing. In our case addressing  the health of people, the environment, sustainable farming, and helping those people and communities who are in need are really the factors that drive our larger business meaning. Bring out the best in yourself and your employees by articulating clearly your vision, meaning, and mission.

Share this post

Magazine Search

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

 

Recent WorkLife articles:

Like pets, office sweaters (and jackets, shawls, and hand warmers) have a lot to say about their owner.
June 23, 2015
Break the stress cycle
May 21, 2015
Conserve your budget, conserve the earth
April 23, 2015
Everybody into the carpool!
March 25, 2015
What your favorite workplace movie says about your working style
February 24, 2015

More recent articles:

Adapted from allrecipes.com
June 24, 2015
Dynamic warm-ups prepare your body and protect against injury
June 22, 2015
How to manage your sweat this summer
June 16, 2015
Food:
Beat the summer heat with the contents of your fridge and pantry
June 15, 2015

About Us

The FruitGuys Magazine is your source for workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. Previously known as The FruitGuys Almanac, the Magazine began in 2007. Editors and contributors include nationally known journalists and food writers. Submissions and suggestions can be sent to the editor.