Office Manager Mistakes as Learned From History’s Leaders

May 23rd, 2013 | Resume | No Comments »

bad leaders

Leading a department or a team of workers is not an easy task, and many managers often inadvertently make mistakes that can disrupt the positive flow of an office. History has shown us the benefit of great leaders, and mimicking their methods is a great idea, but not every person who has been in power has gone about leading in the right way.

There are several leaders whose mistakes managers can learn from and avoid at all costs.

Niccolò Machiavelli

Machiavellianism has been grouped in with narcissism and psychopathy to form what is known as the dark triad of personalities. Although the Italian politician and philosopher certainly made a name for himself during The Renaissance, he is generally remembered today for his most famous quote, “anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.”

Managing with an iron fist may maintain order within an office setting, but doing so could present a hostile work environment for employees – not to mention an awful lot of spite towards management. Managers generally need to walk a fine line between being a friend to their employees, which runs the risk of promoting sloth, and instilling a sense of urgency to get the work done. In the end respect should be the ideal balance. Employees don’t have to be best friends with their bosses, but they should respect and want to work hard for them.

Mary Tudor

Historians know her as Mary I of England, children know her as the ghost that appears in their mirror by reciting her name three times, and the Protestants she brutally murdered knew her as Bloody Mary. Queen Mary I was clearly one to play favorites, a trait that is just as unbecoming for a manager as it is a Queen.

As a manager, you may experience some employees who are better at their job than others, and there are bound to be certain employees with whom you bond with more so than the rest of the team. While it is good to work well with your team, it can be damaging to your overall goals if one or several of your team members feel left out. Building an environment where every member of your team feels just as vital as anyone else is the best way to achieve maximum efficiency and cooperation.

Henry VIII

One of the most well-known Kings of England, Henry VIII was known by his contemporaries as one of the most charismatic rulers to ever sit on the throne. He is remembered today for his six wives and their struggle to produce male heirs to the throne, which eventually led to multiple annulments and beheadings.

As a manager, you shouldn’t cut off all ties with anyone who doesn’t deliver exactly what you want. Constantly changing team members can make employees wary of your methods, and it could lead to their disloyalty. When the turnover in your department is so fast, employees may be worried about whether or not they will be next. This can lead to stressful work conditions as well as employees fleeing your office for more secure positions elsewhere.

Julius Caesar

The man who brought an end to the Roman Republic, thus becoming the most powerful person in the newly formed Roman Empire, may seem like a good example for a successful career, but don’t forget one important fact: he was literally stabbed in the back by his best friend.

Everyone wants to be successful, and many seek to rise as high as they can within their companies, but, your lust for power may be making you quite unpopular. Alienating your coworkers and fellow managers for personal gain will bring you more trouble than that promotion is worth. Sure, they are your competition at times, but treating them as a constant threat to your power is sure to make your time at work miserable, and they may just end up turning on you in the end.

Warren G Harding

It’s not surprising if you have forgotten about, or never even heard of, one of the least successful presidents in American history. Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, was not known for his work ethic, nor was he known to fake it either. The man who was once quoted saying, “”I am not fit for this office and should never have been here,” was known to spend his days playing poker with his friends and roaming the halls of the White House smoking cigars. This went on for two years until he was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge after his death in 1923.

If it needs to be pointed out why you shouldn’t follow Harding’s lead then it is quite possible that none of this has been any help.

It is important for managers to lead with tact, and following the examples of successful leaders will lead to a peaceful, productive office. Following any of the examples above, on the other hand, can only end in tragedy.

By Kevin Withers

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