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Foolish behaviors drive employees and profits away

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 5, 2014 12:50PM



April is a month known for practical jokes, which makes it a good time to discuss some of the foolish behaviors that some businesses continue to demonstrate.

One of the truisms in business is people leave managers not organizations. Poor behaviors demonstrated by bad managers may be one reason 83 percent of North American employees will be seeking new jobs in 2014, acording to Manpower.

Within my own executive coaching practice, I have and continue to observe foolish management behaviors. Take for example the sales manager for a global Fortune 500 firm who decided it made sense not only to berate one of his direct reports (my executive coaching client) publicly during a regional sales meeting, but then to get drunk after the sales meeting. My client later learned this behavior was typical and not to take it personally.

Really? Don’t take it personally? You must be fooling me!

The foolishness of bad behaviors extends not only to this sorry excuse for a sales manager, but to the executive leadership who support such bad management behaviors.

Or how about the CEO who wasted 8 hours-plus on crafting an email and missed the deadline for a REquest for Proposal and then blamed the salesperson? Perfection in today’s world would be nice, however it is usually unobtainable.

Then there is the ever present foolish behavior of placing more value in the every day written grocery list than having a strategic plan of action for the business. People make plans for vacations with far more diligence than they do planning the growth for their small businesses.

Let us not forget much of the foolish behaviors found in social media.

For example, using your LinkedIn contact list as a mass email about your latest webinar to product launch is beyond ridiculous. Self-promotion is necessary, but it must be done correctly otherwise you are indeed the fool.

Probably one of the most foolish behaviors is paranoia. If a sales lead does not call you, you may think you offended him or her. Possibly you take every “No” or “Not now” personally and start creating your self-fulfilling prophecy of paranoia. This foolish behavior weakens your self-confidence to self-esteem.

For me, I found this foolish behavior of using a competency model with regards to talent management and business growth the most damaging. First, such a model fails to recognize and leverage the inherent talents of all involved. Second, hope becomes the underlying and driving factor toward business success. Third, misalignment always happens between strategies, structure, processes, rewards and people.

During April, I will explore some of these profit draining foolish behaviors in greater detail.

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