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Frankenstein's Manager

Lousy employee leadership got you down? Hey, Dr. Entrepreneur, here's how to <i>build </i>the perfect supervisor.

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This story appears in the October 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You've probably heard the old joke about leadership being the ability to figure out which way people are going, then running to get in front of them. You might laugh, but in today's world, business owners can't afford to ignore poor leadership in their supervisors, managers and executives. A recent survey of top U.S. companies revealed that businesses have a difficult time finding qualified leaders and that employees fear their companies face an uncertain future due to lack of leadership. And, of the leaders surveyed, 70 percent said that they pursued development activities to make themselves more marketable for other jobs, and not necessarily at their current companies.

The study, conducted by Development Dimensions International Inc. (DDI) in Pittsburgh, focused on large corporations, but Barrie Athol, DDI's vice president, says the results are equally, if not more, applicable to entrepreneurial businesses. "The strength of a leader has much more impact on the success of a small organization than a large organization," Athol says. "For example, in a small company, if you have an open executive slot or one of the executives is not performing well, that could mean a third of your executive leadership is [floundering]. If you have one executive who is not performing well in a large corporation, there are [plenty of] others to cover for him."

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