Why managers don’t manage: They lack trust

One reason managers fail is that they lack confidence in their abilities.

Some managers avoid making difficult decisions because they are afraid of making a mistake. They lack confidence in their ability to assess a situation and determine the best response. Or they take action and then reconsider their decisions. Very often these managers operate in a vacuum, without adequate access to or support from other managers.

How can you tell if a manager lacks self-confidence?

  1. They come to HR to discuss any employee situation.

  2. They deviate from their suggestions when they first feel that they lack the support of their peers or upper management.

  3. They get very stressed about decisions they have to make.

  4. They do not initiate changes in their staffing or operations.

  5. They hide their lack of confidence behind shouting, boasting, and blaming others for shortcomings.

When managers lack confidence, their employees know it and may seek to take advantage of it by manipulating or misrepresenting facts or issues. As a result, their employees are essentially in the driver’s seat. Then it becomes very difficult for the manager to manage the daily activities, implement changes or enforce discipline. Managers can hide their shortcomings by refusing to take responsibility for their actions or inactions.

A typical case occurred when a bank changed its software. Bank branches began losing member deposits. Store managers literally could not determine where the deposits had been directed. Managers at headquarters blamed the branch managers for their incompetence. It wasn’t until we brought all the managers together that they were able to remember that they had the same goal: to serve the members. Once the troubleshooting was complete, the central managers were able to admit that they hadn’t properly trained the store managers on how the new software worked.

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You can boost your managers’ confidence by providing them with mentors who come from more experienced and experienced managers. The mentors can help the new managers understand the company culture and the expectations of upper management. The mentors can also share their experiences, including their mistakes, to encourage and support the new managers.

Another option is to set up meetings for managers from across the organization to get to know each other and build relationships that offer mutual support and encouragement. Once these relationships are established, managers can use their peers as a sounding board for decisions or initiatives they are planning

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