Are Managers Too Busy to Work Effectively?

Sometimes the real cause of the problem is deeper than the individual. One of the largest stumbling blocks for managers is a complex management reporting structure, say experts.

Ghoshal says the American concept of management by intricate, and often overbearing, reporting labyrinths was designed as a way to control costs, but actually zaps most managers' energies instead of invigorating them.

"Endemic in U.S. businesses are the month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter requirements," adds Madsen. "We manage from a cost perspective, not from a value perspective, and it is the demand for daily results that really force us to keep a nearsighted view of the business world."

Says McMeekin: "The problem right now is that companies are not setting boundaries so managers get distracted and end up spinning their wheels while constantly fighting fires."

Leaders Equal Loyalty, Profitability

Yet if good management is the life-blood of the business, bad management can be its death knell, notes Madsen. If not caught soon enough, it can destroy a company both from the inside out.

"Good leaders inspire loyalty and commitment. Weak leaders destroy the basis for team success," says Reichheld, author of Loyalty Rules!

Loyalty has a trickle-down effect: If employees are loyal to their managers and companies, customers are also loyal to those companies and will boost profit growth, he explains.

An increase of as little as 5 percent in customer retention will translate into as much as 25-95 percent profit gain in almost any industry, Reichheld argues, citing a 1996 Bain study.

Yet, of 2,000 employees Bain interviewed in 2001, less than half of all frontline workers believe their company deserves their loyalty — which undermines customer, and employee, retention.

The bottom line, says Madsen, "is that people don't want to be managed, they want to be led, and you don't find great leadership skills everywhere you go."

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