5 Wrong Turn Signals for Managers in the Workplace

Blocked WayLike many of us, you’re probably busy getting things done at work. You’re covering your job and probably a few others. Your executives call upon you constantly to put out fires and they rely on you to implement their directives, vision and goals. Sure, you’re a valued team member. But are you really adding long-term value? Here are five signals that you may be headed in the wrong direction.

  1. You don’t have time to create strategic plans. Why spend time creating a plan when there’s so much work to do? You know what needs to be done and you do it.
    Mistake #1! Not taking the time to create a strategy is a mistake that  occurs quite often. It is by far the easiest thing to omit, but omitting it also has the greatest negative impact to long-term success. A written strategy (not the one in your head) provides a clear roadmap, parameters and checkpoints that guide your actions along the way. It is the single most useful item in driving business actions, meeting objectives and keeping you aligned with the corporate business strategy. If you’re not creating strategic plans, you may be adversely impacting the effectiveness of your department and as a consequence, negatively impacting your career.
  1. You learn about important things in the office through your network and not necessarily from your manager. In other words, you’re uninformed.
    How many times have you had to start a conversation with your supervisor saying, “Is it true….”, “I didn’t know….”, or “I heard….”?  All of us have had these conversations in the workplace from time to time, but if you find that you’re starting conversations in this manner with your executives regularly about important things, that’s a red flag.  Generally speaking, a person is ignored before they are omitted.  You career may be headed in the wrong direction.
  1. You are unable to articulate your value in business terms. Producing a widget and meeting productivity goals are good. Stating how that translates to bottom line results is golden.
    Good leaders know their value and they know how to articulate it in terms that mirror company metrics. If revenue is the driving force, then calculate how your position impacts revenue. If margin is the key metric, then determine how your tasks contribute to or subtract from margin goals. If you’re unable to translate your actions into key company metrics, then you’re not a leader and definitely not headed in the right direction.
  1. You are uninvited! Yes, you are on the management team, but you’re not a member of the “RSVP” crowd.
    If you find that you’re not invited to key decision making meetings, important client engagements, company outings, or other significant events, then you may want to take notice. More importantly, if you don’t even know that these events are occurring then you may already be on a different road – and going in the wrong direction. Let’s face it, we all want to get the invite even if we plan to decline the invitation. The invitation says, “You’re one of us.”  The lack of invitation says, “You’re one of them.”
  1. Your executives keep you updated AFTER making decisions. The operative word is AFTER. Why not before?
    It is rare for important business decisions to be made without information and input from various sources. If you find that you are often not consulted prior to decisions that directly impact your line of work, you may want to assess your situation. Being a leading indicator is always better than being a lagging reactor. Which one are you?

Hopefully you’re moving in the right direction, but if not, it’s never too late to assess your situation and determine what you need to do to course correct. One wrong turn doesn’t have to lead to another.

Charlotte Ntreh is a Partner at PeopleResults where she helps clients build and sustain high performing, impactful and effective organizations with measurable results. You can contact Charlotte at cntreh@people-results.com or follow her on twitter @cntreh.