Management sins

Published 3 Comments on Management sins

What are the worst management sins?  Here is my short list.

  1. Micromanagment. I really hate it when a boss says, “I want you to be responsible for this, but I am going to dictate how you do it.”  This is the thing that made me want to leave Intuit.  If you delegate then, let the person do their job.  You can give them feedback and guidance, but don’t dictate.  I know this sin happens when the shit hits the fan.  People think that they need to clamp down and have more process, but it never works.  See chart.  This is also related to Avinash’s HiPPO.
  2. Lying, concealing, misleading, omitting.  How often have you been in a meeting where someone says, “Don’t tell them, we don’t want to start a panic!”  Grown people treated like children.  My number one “good thing” in business is integrity.  This is specifically, the lacktherof.  Transparency is the only way to a healthy work environment.  Concealing information is the road to failure.
  3. Absence of Mentoring.  I think every boss should actively mentor their subordinates.  The lack of this is surely a sin. We spend most of our lives at work.  Everyone deserves to grow emotionally, professionally and spiritually.  Being a boss isn’t about power.  It is about growth and responsibility.  Help people beneath you and you will help yourself.

What are your worst management sins?


  1. Rather than a management sin, I’ll offer a couple of my (correlating) rules of management:

    1. Understand that you don’t know everything
    2. Understand that your people don’t *expect* you to know everything.
    3. Know what you don’t know
    4. Be okay with what you don’t know (read: don’t pretend that you do know it and engage the argument from authority)
    5. Trust your people to, collectively, know those things that you don’t.
    6. Understand that if none of you knows something that becomes required knowledge, you can ask one of them to learn it – or bring in someone that already knows it.

    In other words…relax. If you have good people and you take care of them, then they’ll take care of you. If you don’t have good people then you have bigger problems that you need to get sorted out before you spend too much time worrying about who knows what.

    The more I say it, the more it sounds so unbelievably obvious, and yet…

  2. My worst management sin – taking the idea of equality too seriously and treating everyone the same. I used to speak to everyone in the same way without considering the person – it was the attitude “this is me – take it or leave it.” I would also try and create rules that would help me make decisions about managing people and processes at work.

    What I realized was that my rules and my ideas about treating people equally was pretty selfish. It was about making things easier for me rather than helping my team get things done better while trying to have fun doing it.

    We’re all different. A manager should realize and respect those differences. Your employees will feel recognized, you will learn a lot about people, and everyone will be a lot happier.

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