Placing Blame For Poor Results

By Malcolm Fleschner

What do you think is the number one reason behind poor organizational performance? The wrong personnel? Lack of training? Frequent overdoses on break room donuts? Not quite, says sales trainer and consultant Tim Connor ( Connor says ineffective and deficient management skills and attitude are the greatest contributing factors to organizational malaise based on his 27 years of experience working with hundreds of clients worldwide.

In fact, Connor adds, all corporate direction and culture, not to mention employee motivation and behavior, both good and bad, can be traced back to management style and communication patterns. While managers often are quick to point fingers at individual employees, departments or divisions when expectations aren’t met, those managers instead need to focus their gaze in the mirror and take responsibility.

So what are executives, managers and business owners typically doing to drive poor performance? Here Connor lists 30 of the most common ways management sabotages employees’ potential for achievement:

1. Seeing disagreement as disloyalty
2. Failing to listen to employees
3. Poor or inconsistent coaching
4. Lack of effective employee training
5. Taking credit for successes but sharing the blame for failures
6. Seeking only information that supports one view or opinion
7. Viewing people who deliver bad news as troublemakers
8. Indecisiveness
9. Greed
10. Giving inadequate positive or negative feedback
11. Isolated or dictatorial management style
12. Focusing exclusively on the negative
13. Playing favorites
14. Over-analysis
15. Not informing employees about matters that concern them
16. Inadequate or poor delegation skills
17. Delegating responsibility without authority
18. Throwing money at people to solve their problems
19. Failing to advocate for employees
20. Preventing the inadequate upward flow of honest information
21. Lack of trust in employees
22. Hiring or supporting weaker employees while hindering and even sabotaging more productive employees
23. Trying to run an organization from behind a desk
24. Hiding or obscuring the truth, which will come out sooner or later
25. Shooting the messenger
26. Hiring weaker rather than stronger candidates for personal reasons
27. Making top-down decisions without bottom-up feedback
28. Creating and communicating unclear goals and directions
29. Sending mixed messages to employees
30. Not empowering employees to make decisions and take action

Sadly, many organizations think they can use incentive programs to solve problems with these underlying managerial causes. When the incentives inevitably fail, however, the lower-level employees are blamed, continuing the cycle. Instead, Connor says, organizations facing ongoing problems need to seek out the sources of those challenges up the ladder of command in the executive suites, not down below on the front lines.