WITZERLAND, home to less than eight million people, has no known resources yet the World Bank estimates that its GDP stood at US$685,4 billion in 2013. Conversely, Zimbabwe, which boasts more than 13 million people, has vast natural resources and yet its GDP stands at US$13,5 billion. This anomaly, to a certain extent, might be a function of how we run our companies.
While it must be acknowledged that sanctions have indeed had a damaging impact on the local economy, it must be appreciated that the management style of businesses also has a bearing on performance. So, there is need to evaluate how our local companies are run.
It does not make any sense that a country that purportedly has 25 percent of the world’s diamonds and other vast natural resources is struggling to prop the economy. Reports that local diamond companies are even struggling to meet their obligations is equally worrying.
It is estimated that local diamonds have the potential of growing the economy.
But there is crucial need to interrogate the administration of local companies, which clearly has been bad for quite some time. Usually, signs of bad management in a company include miserable employees, low productivity, resistance to change, one-way communication system and a big ego wielded by management.
Employees can talk bad about their bosses – and they often do – but when everyone at the company is complaining about the work environment then indeed this is a clear sign that there is poor management. Positive and straight-forward communication can go a long way than disciplinary measures and threatening language. This is an important lesson for every manager. Usually people with big positions and power tend to develop king-sized egos. Acting with a big ego is a defence mechanism and is a poor way to manage workplace situations.
When managers are always desperate to take credit for the work of their employees, then they are not very good managers.
Effective managers have a fiduciary duty to act as team players rather than as self-centred egomaniacs. A boss is human too and he or she also makes mistakes. If a boss makes a mistake and fails to admit that they made a mistake, then this is also a sign of very bad management. It is a good sign to apologise when one makes a mistake. No human being is perfect and people can make bad decisions. Protecting your ego and defending a terrible decision is an action which also leads to wastage.
Good managers also listen to their employees’ concerns. It is part of good management skills. Also, managers that cannot take constructive criticism are probably not skilled leaders as effective managers are able to motivate a team while simultaneously listening to the team’s suggestions.
Low staff morale can lead to very low production. A good manager often sets expectations from the workforce, which should be highly motivated to deliver.
The inability to pay workers who are seriously putting in a shift is also a serious indictment on management’s ability to be productive. Honestly, how can a worker be expected to be efficient when there are not rewarded for their efforts.
It goes without saying that good managers should reward their employees accordingly in order to increase productivity. Poor managers are also very resistant to change. They feel threatened when employees come up with innovations. However, progressive executives have the ability to embrace innovation and change, and to manage employee problems before they become crises. They are managers that obviously have no idea how to do this and are instead preoccupied with looking for quick fixes.
Delegating is the duty of managers. If they cannot do this, then this is a sign of bad management. Some leaders ‘hold back’ tasks because they feel that their employees already have ‘enough work to do’, but the truth is that giving them additional responsibility sends a message that you have faith in their ability to execute on that responsibility. It gives them a reason to step up, and that is important.
Being a manager does not mean you need to have all the answers. It is OK to say “I don’t know” or “I will get back to you once I have the answer”. Making snap decisions can result in costly mistakes and in return the manager risks losing respect from employees. It is very important to make informed decisions. Good leadership is harder than it looks. There are lots of well-meaning paths that lead to horrible results. Much of the success that has been experienced in Switzerland can be attributed to good management practices. There is urgent need to change the work ethic and application of local companies. There is no doubt the country has the potential to be a leading economic light on the continent, but that potential not not currently being realised.
Results are what are currently needed.
Taurai Changwa is an articled accountant with vast experience on tax,accounting, audit and corporate governance issues. He is the MD of SAFIC Consultancy and writes in his personal capacity. Feedback: [email protected], Facebook page SAFIC Consultancy or WhatsApp 0772374784
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