Management by Dropping HintsBy: Robert H. Kent, Ph.D., CMC
There's a common management style I'm discovering among presidents and senior executives. I call it management by dropping hints.
I hear executives saying things like, "I don't understand why Smigelski's not doing her job -- I've dropped enough hints". Or, "Why doesn't Frigelbum take the hint? I want him to give me a once-a-month written report on client calls so that I'll know exactly how successful he is compared to previous months. Whenever I ask him how his calls are going he says everything is fine, but I know for a fact he is making fewer calls." The president feels it's a personal affront to have to verbalize expectations.
Presidents who manage by dropping hints sometimes devise little tests to see if their executives can read their minds. And they present these tests to people for whom they're prepared to pay $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 a year!
Why do managers manage by dropping hints? Perhaps it's due to personality traits, or possibly these managers have never seen managing done any differently so they think that that's the way to do it. Or maybe it's just not clear in their minds what they want subordinates to do.
Other managers may take too much for granted and assume too much. They may assume what's common sense for them (given their goals and objectives) is common sense for the other person. Or, managers may be so involved in what they perceive to be their own problems that they feel they don't have enough time to be telling other people what to do.
As a manager though, you should separate your employee's ability to do the job from her ability to read your mind. It's a shame that so many employees fail at their jobs not because they couldn't do the job, but because they couldn't read the boss' mind. Give your employees a clear indication of what you expect from them and if they don't know what to do, tell them.
© Copyright 2001 The Mansis Development Corporation
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