Negative traits and flaws that can curb the professional development and performance of managers

Arrogance, extreme perfectionism, highly eccentric approaches… .
These are just a few of the traits and quirks present among certain executives with otherwise great potential. Some of these professionals are able to overcome such obstacles and reach the upper echelons of companies, while others allow these characteristics to become major flaws derailing their ability to direct a large-scale organization.

During our last bi-annual meeting held in Mexico City, we had the great opportunity to attend a lecture given by Javier Gomez, General Manager of DDI Mexico. Citing the results of several studies, he presented a list of virtues and flaws commonly found in general managers and high-level executives. From that list, I would cite the following as being the most frequent. I suggest that we all take a good, honest look at these characteristics, because by identifying them, in ourselves and in the managers in our teams, we are on our way to successfully overcoming them.

1. Great need for approval:

Needing the approval of others within the organization, particularly of leaders. Often, this need results in a lack of interest in tackling difficult problems…and therefore inaction. A manager who has a great need for outside approval does not usually defend his or her team or take a clear stance when complicated issues arise.

2. Arrogance and excess pride:

Always believing that they are right. This limits managers’ ability to listen to and learn from others. These executives tend to underestimate competitors and trivialize their actions, which can be rather dangerous to a business. They often end up with unmotivated teams, because they can make them feel that they are only there to carry out instructions. I discussed this issue in detail, in a recent blog: http://blogs.semanaeconomica.com/blogs/factor-humano/posts/la-soberbia-el-pecado-favorito-de-los-nuevos-managers

3. Extreme complacency:

Striving to be viewed by superiors as helpful and positive. However, underneath this attitude, these managers might really be pursuing their own agendas of climbing the corporate ladder. Often times, these managers end up being seen as manipulative and hypocritical by peers and subordinates.

4. Eccentricity and obliviousness:

Thinking and acting so far outside the box that they are viewed as abnormal; lacking leadership ability. Even when they have excellent ideas, these managers are very unlikely to implement them. These managers are unable to connect with the rest of the team. They are not inclined to take the motivation, concerns and behaviors of others into account. They communicate on a technical and precise plane, but are misunderstood by most everyone else. They are unable to motivate, energize or incite enthusiasm in their teams.

5. Perfectionism:

Micromanagers; so focused on the details that they lose sight of the big picture and the overall objectives. They strive to have everything under control, to approve each and every action, etc.

6. Volatility:

Difficulty in keeping emotions in check. These managers swing from pessimism to optimism, and constantly redefine strategies and objectives, which creates confusion and unnecessary work in the team.

Normally, we find hints of one or more of these characteristics among managers. It is up to these professionals, and their mentors and bosses, to keep these traits under control so that they do not become flaws that limit their career development, performance and growth.

About INAC:
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