Only about 10 percent of managers work purposefully to complete important tasks, according to a 10-year study of managerial behavior across a variety of industries. The other 90 percent self-sabotage by busily engaging in non-purposeful activities, procrastinating, detaching from their work and needlessly spinning their wheels.
In a revealing study over a 10-year period, 1993-2003, authors Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal tracked behaviors of managers in a wide variety of industries (A Bias for Action: How Effective Managers Harness Their Willpower, Achieve Results, and Stop Wasting Time, Harvard Business School Press, 2004).
They found that over 90 percent of managers fail to act purposefully in their everyday work . Bruch’s and Ghoshal’s study identifies four profiles of managerial behavior, as charted in a grid measuring focus and energy. Managers were charted as being high or low in focus, and they were charted as being high or low in energy.
The Frenzied: Forty percent of managers are distracted by the overwhelming tasks that face them each day. They are highly energetic, but unfocused. But “the need for speed” prompts them to be unreflective. They could achieve more if they consciously concentrate their efforts on what really matters.
The Procrastinators: Thirty percent of managers procrastinate on doing their organizations’ most important work. They lack both energy and focus, spending their time handling minor details in lieu of what could make a real difference to their organizations.
The Detached: Twenty percent of managers are disengaged or detached from their work. They can be focused, but have no energy. They seem aloof, tense and apathetic. (Go here for full article)