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The seven habits of horribly ineffective managers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alixe MacRae   

ImageDr. Stephen R. Covey once wrote a very famous book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which has become a much referenced resource for successful business people the world over. But there are also seven habits that horribly ineffective managers use every day and now that we've started a brand new year, it might be a good time to review them.

Don't listen. The people who are talking to you just generate noise. You built the business; you know the business, and you know what must to be done. All suggestions are just diversions from what is needed. Listening is an indicator of weakness. Be strong; be resolute; be unshakeable.

The only thing to listen to is your gut. Your team will follow; eventually.

Don't share important information. Knowledge is power and you control the power. You can't trust your staff; they may tell your competition. Besides, since you are the sole decision maker; the information would be a waste of their time and yours.

The Hawthorne experiment (1927-1932) may have proven the opposite result - that productivity increases with knowledge. But, on the other hand, information leads to questions and you know all the answers.

Do business with people you like and only people you like. Why not make your deal on the golf course or over lunch? These people are friends; your orders should profit those people not others.

If you think this relationship doesn't cloud your decisions; you need a large dose of reality medicine. A good manufacturer's representative or owner knows how to ingratiate themselves for their profit - not yours. These friends disappear when you are no longer an asset.

Ensure that when the company is making cutbacks; you flaunt your wealth. Not long ago, the president of a printing company bought a new car and drove it to the plant while the workers were on strike for a small increase in wages.

The rest of the management team sent him home. That move could have resulted in serious vandalism.

Use yelling and public embarrassment to get your point across. Like capital punishment it's often the best deterrent. To quote an unknown source "the beatings will continue until morale improves."

This behavior will make you look like someone without control; but you don't care; you are control.

Don't give positive feedback; the person receiving it will expect a raise. The only reward for good performance is keeping your job.

Who cares if they leave your company; you can get new staff at a lower rate of pay. Also, ensure that resignations have (signed) draconian terms attached. The bonus is forfeit, vacation pay is delayed and benefits cease immediately. You should know that most of these terms will not stand up in court; but if the employee doesn't know that; who cares?

Finally, take responsibility for only the things that turn out well. An ineffective manager perfects the "blame game."

You bought too much? No, they sold too few. You bought defective product? No, the warehouse handling was sloppy. Your bottom line is less than budgeted? Slash staff.

Sometimes remembering what not to do can be as important as giving oneself a refresher course on what to do. Ineffective managers are all around us. They can, in a perverse way, be the best role model - reminding us how not to lead.

A regular contributor to Home Goods Online, Alixe MacRae is one of this country's best known merchandisers, having held senior positions at a variety of well-known Canadian retailers including Stoney Creek Furniture, Sears Canada and The Bay. She recently started her own business Concierge Relocation ( Her company specializes in move management, especially for those dramatically downsizing seniors and their overwhelmed children.

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