Musings from the CU Suite

Feb 02, 2012

What Not To Do; This and That

Written by Anthony Demangone

There are many ways to learn management skills.   But I'd put them into two separate camps.  Positive and Negative. 

Positive.  You can read about good leaders.  You can study management texts.  You can ask for advice from leaders that you respect.  You can add expertise and skills that only experience provides. 

Negative.  You'll make mistakes. Learn from them.  Better yet, why not learn from others?

Today, I'll focus a bit on the negative.  Here's a great article (Forbes) that lists seven awful traits of poor executives.  Here's a snippet:

Habit #3:  They think they have all the answers

Here’s the image of executive competence that we’ve been taught to admire for decades: a dynamic leader making a dozen decisions a minute, dealing with many crises simultaneously, and taking only seconds to size up situations that have stumped everyone else for days. The problem with this picture is that it’s a fraud. Leaders who are invariably crisp and decisive tend to settle issues so quickly they have no opportunity to grasp the ramifications. Worse, because these leaders need to feel they have all the answers, they aren’t open to learning new ones.

CEO Wolfgang Schmitt of Rubbermaid was fond of demonstrating his ability to sort out difficult issues in a flash. A former colleague remembers that under Schmitt,” the   joke   went, ‘Wolf  knows everything about everything.’  In one discussion, where we were talking about a particularly complex acquisition we made in Europe, Wolf, without hearing different points of view, just said, ‘Well, this is what we are going to do.’”  Leaders who need to have all the answers shut out other points of view. When your company or organization is run by someone like this, you’d better hope the answers he comes up with are going to be the right ones.  At Rubbermaid they weren’t.  The company went from being Fortune’s most admired company in America in1993 to being acquired by the conglomerate Newell a few years later.

That's a great point.  A few of my colleagues at NAFCU have given me fantastic advice along these lines, but in a positive way.  Never be afraid of hiring folks that are smarter than you.  In fact, always try to do so. They'll provide your solutions and answers. 

Personally, on the occasions when I've stepped into a managerial gopher hole, it resulted from not consulted with enough folks around me. 


Here are a few interesting reads...

 Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!