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Are you just waiting to fail due to poor management?

October 8, 2013
ISQEM Article

Friday afternoon 5:30 pm.  All of a sudden “ping” a new email arrives in your inbox.  Yes it’s another request from a senior manager asking for that urgent safety document to be produced for Monday morning.




Now we have all been there before, the person who is sending the request cannot manage their workload effectively and by default their actions are now creating both stress and frustration for you and your team. This is because many managers have difficulty in allocating sufficient time to undertake key tasks and inadvertently they are setting the company and themselves up for failure.

If we look at an individual who has poor management skills they can easily lose several weeks of productive time per year. However if we now multiple the time lost by others who are directly or indirectly impacted the financial cost to a business can be substantial. Yet often this impact to business efficiency is overlooked and not covered as part of routine risk management.

Due to the changes in today’s global business environment and the economic restraints placed on organisations we need to take a stronger stance on how employees work. By adopting mandatory workplace ethics it is possible to make changes that will add value and maintain productivity.  So the question is what are the failure indicators we should be looking for? 

Common risk indicators of poor management:

There is a simple way to check if you or any of your team is affected by poor management. If any of the following risk indicators are common practice within your organisation then you definitely need to take urgent action.

 Email Control:  (Everyone wants to be the new fastest gun in the west)

  • Management staff has a tendency to constantly check emails or text messages both on a PC and their mobile, can’t avoid opening emails as soon as they arrive.
  • Spend excessive time on writing emails and circulating to unnecessary recipients.
  • Regularly changes the subject matter of an email into a running random discussion.
  • Circulate unclear or inadequate instructions by email.
  • People believe evidence of productivity or efficiency is based on email generation.

Poor Meeting Ethics (I’m just here for the coffee)

  • Meeting are often requested involving large numbers of participants with few actually adding inputs or even needing to attend.
  • Meetings regularly do not start or finish on time.
  • The meeting is not adding any measurable value to the organisation.
  • Participants always checking and using mobiles in meetings, the biggest sign of poor management control and lack of concentration by a meeting attendee. (Also viewed as disrespectful to meeting host)

Group Conference Calls (Mute and I will Forget)

  • Lack of focus or concentration on the subject matter by attendees.
  • Attendees undertake other task whilst on the conference call which are unrelated, i.e. answering emails or reading documents. Or worse still surfing the internet.
  • Mute and Forget.  This is where people put the line on mute and get involved in other side-line conversations.
  • Fail to make notes to ensure delivery of any actions or task discussed during the conference call.

Lack of leadership or Management Control (Plan what Plan)

  • Lack of a coherent approach to manage or lead is most probable the top reason for poor management. If there is no agreed plan or approach to your organisations management style then disaster is guaranteed to be just waiting around the corner.
  • Departments or specific functions are working in silo mode, not to a common goal or timeline.

Criss-Cross Approach (The left hand doesn’t know what the right hands doing)

  • Multiple people or departments getting involved in areas beyond their scope and /or knowledge
  • Different People requesting the same or similar task for someone to complete. This is what we call the criss-cross approach with the excessive use of multiple resources to deliver the same results.
  • Overstepping or missing out people in lines of communication, responsibility or authority.
  • People, who jump into management areas that they do not fully understand and make irrelevant comments. Causing confusion or mistrust between departments or functional areas of the business.


I have only just touched on a few of the common risk failure indicators. If a company adopts and practices strong management ethics they are more likely to be successful. The positive results will mean that employees are more productive, less stressed, inspired and motivated to work within a company.  It’s all about focusing on identifying your basic day to day problems and understanding what is required to be done in order to minimise loss of time and valuable resources 

Download PDF Copy:  Are you just waiting to fail due to poor management

Risk management and success goes hand in hand. So make sure you know your organisational risk indicators

  1. This is a good article. It is brief but gives some specific items for everyone. However, these actions are particularly important for leaders as their cascading effects can profoundly impact any organization

  2. Adeduro Ruth permalink

    Great article. My boss will say “if i grow up i want to be like you” am saying same. Yeah, the risk indicators must be determined to have a continuous improvement in the industry.

  3. Therese permalink

    Good article. I must admit I recognized some bad habits of my own…..I do wonder, since email has replaced both face to face & telephone contact in large organizations, how one should manage emails? I confess I think/thought because we have so many “just in time” requests for information to start new research projects that are communicated via email, there is a requirement to respond as soon as humanly possible.

  4. Dan permalink

    A good article, I think that everyone reading it will be able to relate to some if not all of the content….

  5. Pointers leaders need to look seriously into.

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