Paralysed with fear of ‘what if…’

Ever driven through a flood across a road, only to encounter a driver coming from the opposite direction stopped: surveying the flood, weighing the risks, undecided about going on, creating their very own personal traffic jam?  I’m sure you have.

I came across one of these situations this week. It was on a busy A-road and the queue that was building up behind this one indecisive, cautious, risk averse driver went on for miles.

He must have been stopped for ages and he was still stopped as I drove off down the road. I have no idea how long it will have taken him to realise the only way to go was forward and, if other cars had survived driving through the flood, then he would probably survive it too!

I see floods (blockages) in organisations too. Or rather, I see managers assessing and considering floods in organisations. Ever met that manager who knows that one of their employees is under performing, but is unable to stop dithering about whether to manage the poor performance formally or not? And whilst the dithering goes on (often for months and sometimes even years), issues build up, other staff resentments build up, productivity and continuity is affected and errors continue to be made by the under performer.

Dithering is a serious time waster in business. But dithering appears to be on the increase. I regularly see businesses (and individual managers and directors) paralysed by fear of ‘what if’. What if he/she doesn’t like what I say? What if they resign and sue me for constructive dismissal? What if they get violent? What if I’m making a wrong decision? What if I get accused of bullying? What if I get accused of being ineffectual?

The list goes on and on. We often measure staff productivity, but perhaps we should consider measuring managers’ productivity in respect of managing their subordinates effectively and efficiently.

Another thought is that perhaps its time to start assessing managers ‘fear factors’ at recruitment. Anyone scoring a high mark on the fear factor scale is unlikely to ever mange staff well. They will probably be too afraid of getting it wrong or being sued. Like my man in a flood, one person not moving forward and not dealing with what needs to be dealt with inevitably causes a mass of problems for those coming along behind.

Perhaps its time to performance manage the weak manager rather than the wayward employee?

Want to get it right? I can give you the various options you need!

Option 1. The Jaluch Kindle book on performance management available from Amazon (Managing Staff Performance – £5)
Option 2. Words in a book not enough? Call the Jaluch advice line for support and reassurance. (Pay as you go service available in addition to contracted support packages)
Option 3. Need even more than this? Interested in addressing the root cause of your own business traffic jam?

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