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13 Ways Managers Lose Control

        posted by , February 19, 2013

We've all been there — reporting to a manager who's losing control. Things go undelivered. Quality suffers. The team starts to fall apart. The organization begins to notice. The entire team suffers decreased job satisfaction and a damaged reputation.

Management isn't always easy. Managers must build a team and deliver to objectives — planning, leading and publicizing the team's work. There are 16 common reasons that managers lose control:

1. Low manager engagement

Some managers simply give up. This is usually related to job satisfaction or personal distractions.

2. The passive-aggressive manager

Some managers may be bent on damaging the organization through obstructionist and subversive behavior.

3. Interpersonal relationships

Management requires people skills, adaptability, communication skills and thick skin. Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships is a common cause of management breakdown.

4. Wishy-washy decision making

Failure to set a clear and consistent strategy for the team. Weak decision making can lead to a dissatisfied team and challenges to the manager's leadership.

5. Over ambition

Some managers are more interested in their next job than their current job. This is not always bad when the manager has a good chance of moving up. However, if the manager has not developed competence at their current level — over-focus on a promotion can lead to their downfall.

6. Micromanaging

Micromanaging is not always a bad thing. Some managers know the job better than anyone on the team and add value at the detailed level. Many famously successful managers are known to be micromanagers.

Where micromanaging goes wrong is when managers interfere with decisions they don't understand. This is counter-productive and can damage the manager's reputation.

7. Inability to Influence

Some managers are good at managing their team but fail to represent the team within the organization.

8. Political trickery

Office politics is an inescapable aspect of management — it is the de facto way that power gets worked out on a day-to-day basis within an organization. A politically astute manager can influence and publicize the team's achievements and value. However, when managers engage in backhanded political tactics such as gossip, backstabbing or coercion they can very quickly damage the team.

9. Failure to build the team

Teams don't just happen. It's the manager's responsibility to build the team. When the team is dysfunctional it threats the manager's ability to execute.

10. Alienating others on the way up

When a manager has powerful adversaries in the organization that obstruct the team's work.

11. Becoming caught-up in work

Productive workers are often promoted to management as a reward for their achievements. Such managers sometimes continue to focus on working-level tasks and neglect their management responsibilities.

12. Bullying

Managers who abuse their power and fail to treat their staff with respect.

13. The yes man

A weak manager who always agrees to executive requests — whether they are realistic or not.

This post is an installment in the ongoing series of articles called Management: The Missing Manual.

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