Three common problems

Feb 19, 2018

You’ll lose control of your office if you have no performance metrics, no accountability, and put employees in the wrong roles.

The difference between leadership and management is quite substantial. Make no mistake, as a leader, you need to be good at both to win in today’s competitive marketplace. Leadership is working “on” the business – providing vision and clarity on where the company is headed and what to do when it gets there. In management mode, however, you are working “in” the business and executing that shared mission with your team.

I’d like to focus on the management side in this article by pointing out some of the most common management issues I see working with CEOs and their leadership teams.

  1. Lack of metrics to track employee performance. You think Dave is a great worker because every time you walk by, his head is down and he’s making things happen. The problem is, Dave is actually the lowest performer on your team from a pure output standpoint and the only time Dave works hard is when one of the “bosses” are out on the prowl. I’ve seen “the cool kids” take over an office culture and turn it into a high school scenario with all the rumors, cliques, and various other juvenile forms of behavior teenagers are known for. When you track activity-based metrics, you get a view of the future instead of looking at lagging indicators, which provide a good view of the past. Once you post leading indicator numbers for all to see, “the cool kids” change. They are the ones at the top getting the work done, not the ones who seized power in an environment of low accountability. This paradigm shift has helped many organizations morph their company culture and level the playing field with tangible metrics.
  2. Failure to hold people accountable. If there is no consequence for habitually getting things wrong or not hitting agreed upon metrics, people generally won’t change their ways. Think about it: If every time you got pulled over for speeding and you got a warning rather than an expensive ticket, you’d probably never stop speeding. You must have a set process to deal with both cultural and performance issues with your employees. When do they get a warning and when do you start writing tickets? It’s up to you to decide.
  3. Putting employees in the wrong seat. Oftentimes, we want to “reward” a long-time employee or one who has crushed their last position, so we hand out promotions as a pat on the back. But within a few months, you might regret doing so. Your company deserves to have the best possible employee for every seat available, not one that “kind of” gets it, or might get it someday. Ideally, you’re looking for a 10 out of 10. When your entire company is populated with eights, nines, and 10s, business becomes much easier, a lot more fun, and profitable, I might add. It’s the threes, fours, and fives of the business world who take up so much time with their issues – many of which will never be solved – as long as you allow them to stay without a clear performance improvement plan. The pain of a single uncomfortable conversation is much less than the pain everyone else feels with having a poorly performing employee at the office day after day, with no end in sight.

If you look at these three common management issues in your business, and make some positive changes, you will be amazed at how much easier business is when you surround yourself with the right people all sitting in the right seats. Life is way too short to do it any other way. Your business (and your employees) will thank you.

Chris Hallberg, ranked No. 9 on Inc.’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts, is a seasoned business consultant, turnaround expert, United States Army veteran, and author of The Business Sergeant’s Field Manual. He can be reached at

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