Tuesday, February 2, 2010

10 signs of incompetent managers

Author: Toni Bowers

I came across a great piece about traits that incompetent managers share. Written by Margaret Heffernan for FastCompany.com, this no-nonsense piece cuts to the chase and is about as true a list as I’ve ever seen. Here are the traits of incompetent managers, according to Ms. Heffernan:
  1. Bias against action: There are always plenty of reasons not to take a decision, reasons to wait for more information, more options, more opinions. But real leaders display a consistent bias for action. People who don’t make mistakes generally don’t make anything. Legendary ad man David Ogilvy argued that a good decision today is worth far more than a perfect decision next month. Beware prevaricators.
  2. Secrecy: “We can’t tell the staff,” is something I hear managers say repeatedly. They defend this position with the argument that staff will be distracted, confused or simply unable to comprehend what is happening in the business. If you treat employees like children, they will behave that way — which means trouble. If you treat them like adults, they may just respond likewise. Very few matters in business must remain confidential and good managers can identify those easily. The lover of secrecy has trouble being honest and is afraid of letting peers have the information they need to challenge him. He would rather defend his position than advance the mission. Secrets make companies political, anxious and full of distrust.
  3. Over-sensitivity: “I know she’s always late, but if I raise the subject, she’ll be hurt.” An inability to be direct and honest with staff is a critical warning sign. Can your manager see a problem, address it headlong and move on? If not, problems won’t get resolved, they’ll grow. When managers say staff is too sensitive, they are usually describing themselves. Wilting violets don’t make great leaders. Weed them out. Interestingly, secrecy and over-sensitivity almost always travel together. They are a bias against honesty.
  4. Love of procedure: Managers who cleave to the rule book, to points of order and who refer to colleagues by their titles have forgotten that rules and processes exist to expedite business, not ritualize it. Love of procedure often masks a fatal inability to prioritize — a tendency to polish the silver while the house is burning.
  5. Preference for weak candidates: We interviewed three job candidates for a new position. One was clearly too junior, the other rubbed everyone up the wrong way and the third stood head and shoulders above the rest. Who did our manager want to hire? The junior. She felt threatened by the super-competent manager and hadn’t the confidence to know that you must always hire people smarter than yourself.
  6. Focus on small tasks: Another senior salesperson I hired always produced the most perfect charts, forecasts and spreadsheets. She was always on time, her data completely up-to-date. She would always volunteer for projects in which she had no core expertise — marketing plans, financial forecasts, meetings with bank managers, the office move. It was all displacement activity to hide the fact that she could not do her real job.
  7. Inability to hire former employees: I hired a head of sales once with (apparently) a luminous reputation. But, as we staffed up, he never attracted any candidates from his old company. He’d worked in sales for twenty years — hadn’t he mentored anyone who’d want to work with him again? Every good manager has alumni, eager to join the team again; if they don’t, smell a rat.
  8. Allergy to deadlines: A deadline is a commitment. The manager who cannot set, and stick to deadlines, cannot honor commitments. A failure to set and meet deadlines also means that no one can ever feel a true sense of achievement. You can’t celebrate milestones if there aren’t any.
  9. Addiction to consultants: A common — but expensive — way to put off making decisions is to hire consultants who can recommend several alternatives. While they’re figuring these out, managers don’t have to do anything. And when the consultant’s choices are presented, the ensuing debates can often absorb hours, days, months. Meanwhile, your organization is poorer but it isn’t any smarter. When the consultant leaves, he takes your money and his increased expertise out the door with him.
  10. Long hours: In my experience, bad managers work very long hours. They think this is a brand of heroism but it is probably the single biggest hallmark of incompetence. To work effectively, you must prioritize and you must pace yourself. The manager who boasts of late nights, early mornings and no time off cannot manage himself so you’d better not let him manage anyone else.
  11. Credits: www.techrepublic.com

Top 10 Day Trips

Sometimes you don't have a full weekend to enjoy your down time. Here are 10 destinations and activities that take only a full day whether it's by yourself, with your chicas, your family, or your honey!

By Kage Gozun

1. Viajes del Sol

The brainchild of designer Patis Tesoro, the Viajes del Sol (Travels of the Sun) is comprised of 16 establishments in Laguna and Quezon that deal with art and/or culture. This is not a packaged tour but rather a suggested itinerary for those who wish to learn more about the area and maybe pick up some good eats and treats along the way.
For more information: www.viajedelsol.org

2. Trek through Mt. Pinatubo.

Strap on a sturdy pair of sneakers, slather on the sunscreen, and take a scenic trek through Mount Pinatubo. The hike is over easy terrain so even first-timers won't have a hard time. Some day tours also include a stop at the PDC Spa.
For more information: www.travelph.com

3. Club Manila East. Taytay, Rizal

Get wet and possibly even a tan without having to be at a beach! Club Manila East is best known for its in-house surf lessons at their wavepool. Book lessons in advance through the Philippine Surfing Academy and get your first taste of surfing, without being in the ocean.
For more information: www.clubmanilaeast.com or look for Philippine Surfing Academy on Facebook

4. The Binondo Wok, Chinatown

Combine two pleasures by feasting with both your eyes and taste buds during this tour of Chinatown's best. The tour, led by Ivan Dy, is a taste trip that is best experienced rather than read about. Bring along your cameras to capture the sights of Chinatown, as well as the delicious meals.
For more information: www.oldmanilawalks.com

5. Zoobic and Ocean Adventure, Subic

Drive down to Subic and enjoy two great family treats! Zoobic boasts of the only tiger safari in the country. There is a guided tour of the park, which covers different species on display, including a petting area for the smaller kiddies. Afterwards, if you've still got the energy, check out the nearby Ocean Adventure park for a chance to get up close and personal with marine life. There are sea lion, dolphin and false killer whale shows as well that delight audiences of all ages.

6. The Angono Rizal Art Tour

Angono is considered one of the major hubs for art in Luzon as evidenced by the numerous galleries. Many artists hold residences-cum-galleries that are open to the public. Dona Aurora Street features the works of the Franciscos, Charlie Anorico and other greats. Other must-sees are the Blanco Family Family Museum and the Nemiranda Art House. Round off the day with an exotic meal at the famous Balaw Balaw restaurant, that lists crickets, frogs and coconut worms on the menu. For the faint of stomach, more traditional Tagalog food is on offer.

7. Ilog Maria and Food Tripping in Tagaytay

Make a day of the fresh air and great eats in Tagaytay. Start with a delightful meal at Breakfast at Antonio's (if it's cold, have a cup of hot cocoa) before driving down to the Ilog Maria facility to pick up honey-based products made with the farm's in-house bee hives (the body soaps and the shampoos are very popular). If you find yourself with a need to nosh, drop by Sonja's Garden for fresh veggie dishes or to Leslie's if you're more meat-inclined (they are famous for their bulalo).

8. Siete Lagos, San Pablo

The seven scenic lakes of San Pablo carry large historical significance for the locals of the area. All can be visited within the day. The twin lakes of Yambo and Pandin with Yambo are supposedly the most amazing of all seven. Weather permitting, swimming can be an option. You can even rent rafts from the locals for some down time on the water.

9. Corregidor Island

The historic island offers chances to see an underground hospital (Malinta Tunnel), artillery batteries and other relics from World War II. Aside from these, you can spend the day hiking, rock climbing, and surprisingly, even snorkeling.
For more information: www.malinta.com

10. Lago de Oro, Calatagan, Batangas

Don't have the time to go all the way to Camarines Sur? Then pack your bikinis and head to Batangas instead. The cable and ski park at Lago de Oro is a great place to learn wake boarding, meet new people and get a tan!
For more information: www.lago-de-oro.com