Lack of Communication Most Cited Executive Mistake

June 24, 2004 ( acknowledge they make mistakes, and most commonly (20% of the time), the mistakes result from a lack of communication, according to a recent Accountemps survey that asked executives "What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as a boss?".

Poor hiring decisions accounted for 13% of the responses, with some executives acknowledging they hired the wrong staff, and others admitting that they lost quality employees without seeing the writing on the wall ahead of time.

Other poor decisions included withholding praise and not acknowledging positive contributions. The opposite was also a problem, with many executives saying they let poor performance go unchecked.

The survey results said managers often regretted not being more supportive to staff or making false assumptions that could lead to problems. They survey pointed out that such assumptions and mistakes can come at a price with one survey respondent saying: “I delegated some work on a project and never checked to see if it was completed. A year later, I discovered it had never been done, and it cost the company about a million dollars.”

Accountemps, a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals included 150 executives in the survey, including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments, with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.