Can quiz predict success or failure as a manager?

Dear Joan:
Can you shed some light on what separates the managers who succeed from those who fail? It seems to me that the differences are hard to pin down, since some people who appear to have poor people skills make it up the ladder while others who are talented don't make much progress. Any thoughts? 

The magic ingredients that separate the winners from the losers are hard to bottle. Most of us have our own dark predictions about the witch down the hall or the Vice-Emperor in the corner office. 

The Center for Creative Leadership, in Greensboro, NC, took a scientific approach to predicting their fates. They studied the specific characteristics that lead to managerial "derailment"-demotion, being fired, or plateaued. 

Their research revealed some interesting traits and behaviors that can kill careers. It may help you keep score in your own organization. Keep in mind, however, that each organization has its own set of values and rules and you can learn a great deal about the politics and culture of your company by watching who gets rewarded and who doesn't. If you can't see the logic in who gets knighted and who winds up the dungeon supervisor, you need to expand your internal network and get closer to the subjects you're studying. 

You might take the following quiz twice-once for yourself and another time with the Vice-Emperor in mind. 

(1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree A 5 is always negative)


1.     Does not follow up on promises; lets people dangle 

2.     Thinks more about getting promoted than the job he or she is in now

3.     Does not select staff wisely

4.     Could not handle conflict with a bad boss or one he/she disagreed with

5.     Is not good at building a team

6.     Has an insensitive, abrasive style

7.     Cannot handle a job requiring the formulation of complex organizational strategies

8.     Chooses an overly narrow subordinate group

9.     Makes a splash and moves on without really completing a job

10. Can't make the mental transition from technical manager to general manager

11. Is arrogant (e.g., devalues the contribution of others)

12. Has not adapted to the management culture

13. Does not resolve conflict among subordinates

14. Adopts a bullying style under stress

15. Does not pay enough attention to detail

16. Does not handle pressure well

17. Isolates him/herself from others

18. Relies too much on natural talent

19. Disagrees with higher management about how the business should be run

20. Is emotionally volatile and unpredictable

21. Has chosen to stay with the same boss too long

22. Makes subordinates or peers feel stupid or unintelligent

23. Might burn out, run out of steam

24. Has left a trail of little problems

25. Might lose a powerful advocate within the organization

26. Has left a trail of bruised people 

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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