Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Common Management Problems - the over-enthusiastic boss

This post continues the series I began with Common Management Problems - the isolation of being boss, sharing with you from time to time some of the problems I have experienced as a manager. This one focuses on the dangers of the over-enthusiastic boss, a danger that I am personally prone too.

I suspect that we all know the type of person I am referring too. Brimming with enthusiasm and new ideas, he/she cannot restrain himself/herself, but immediately wants to share the new idea with those working for him/her. Staff may roll their eyes, but really have no choice but to listen.

Often, the over-enthusiastic boss has another feature as well, failure to indicate the purpose of the discussion so that staff do not know what they are meant to be doing with the discussion. Is this a new task, am I meant to be doing something with all this?

This can make over-enthusiastic bosses very poor delegators. They give new tasks before previous tasks have been completed. They also think in their enthusiasm that they are being clear when in fact staff may be completely confused but too polite to say so.

If you are an over-enthusiastic boss my advice is to pause, to take a deep breath before rushing out with the latest idea. Remember that a core part of your job is to help your people do their jobs better, and you do not do this by overloading or confusing them.

If you work for an over-enthusiastic boss your position is more difficult. However, there are a few things that you can do.

If you are not clear just what is intended by the discussion, ask. If you are being asked to do something, but it is not clear to you just what, again ask. If you are working on a priority task, then say that. Finally, if you are finding the whole approach creating really serious problems for you, then have a private chat with the boss.

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