August – Boss Behaviors That Drive Your Team Bonkers*

  1. Overuse of Spreadsheet
    The idea here is that filtering every decision though a spreadsheet obscures the reality of what is going on. Interestingly, in our working with over 170 planning departments throughout the country, we have never seen this problem. In fact, the opposite is true. Many planning directors simply don’t know what numbers to look at or how to use them. We have seen directors’ desks with large stacks of print outs that were never looked at or used.
  2. False Precision in the Numbers
    As noted in 1 above, not an issue for most planning directors. However, if I do convince you to start using numbers, be careful of this on. I have found numbers particularly useful in building the case for more staff. I see department after department that is short staffed but requests for more staff keep getting turned down. A convincing case is simply not made. When I do staffing analysis, I use lots of numbers that can be seen in my book, the ABZs of Planning Management. Now, I know that these number are not precise; however, never once has a city manager or city council challenged the numbers.
  3. Stalling on Making Decisions
    Don’t immediately jump to conclusions (Donald Trump), but recognize you may not need to cross every t and dot every i.
  4. Leading From High Without Really Knowing What Is Going On
    Get out of your office; “management by walking around.” But, be careful what you do when you wander. Don’t just criticize or suggest different directions. Listen, observe, discuss options, give positive feedback.
  5. Avoiding Tough Decisions
    I see this issue mostly as related to personnel problems. You do not do a poor performer a favor by not honestly addressing the issues. If you need to terminate, try the “Bloodless Termination” described in the ABZs of Planning Management.
  6. Storing Up Feedback and then Dumping It
    Saving up feedback for the annual review is a no winner. “Deliver feedback as close to the observed behavior as possible and always focus the behavior on the business, not the person.”
  7. Remember, you are not drafted into management like the army. If you are or want to be a manager – then manage.

the Management Doctor

*Abstracted from the Internet at: