6 Reasons Why Your Managers Are Failing


I'm gonna cut to the chase.

I've observed for many years a cyclical epidemic. Managers who don't know how to manage, and who are not managing ...and who are not helped in any useful, sustainable way.

And so...it continues.

As a business owner, senior leader or HR professional, if you've experienced this on any level I want to help you diagnose why.

Now, I don't want to insult your intelligence. Perhaps to you, the six items below are obvious and you've sought help and just haven't found the right resources to fully fulfill your needs. 

For now, here are the reasons managers are failing:

1). There is no consistent training and development (two different things by the way) and so they are left to their own devices.. navigating the challenges of people management (getting results through people) as best they can through lots of trial and error.

2). They really don't want to be managers, but there is no alternate career path where they can increase their income. So, they reluctantly take on a responsibility they intrinsically don't want and even consciously or subconsciously resist. On a personal note, I find this very sad. Whenever I start a management training initiative, my first question is typically, "How many of you really want to be a manager?" Let's just say rarely is every hand raised.

3). They lack personal maturity. They are barely mature enough to manage themselves day to day, let alone others. They lack even the basic individual competency identified in emotional intelligence - self-management.

4). They lack social maturity. Though some are successful at self-management, they lack social maturity - that is the ability to interact with others in a constructive, productive way. This is demonstrated via dysfunction, an unhealthy ego, low team morale, complaints and turnover. Imagine folks who are both socially and personally immature and yet are given power over a group. Or perhaps you don't need to imagine - you've experienced it. (By the way, I see this as cruel - subjecting a group of people to an unhealthy person. Life is way too short to have a bad manager! Also, it's fiscally irresponsible. Keeping an unhealthy manager is like paying someone to help you lose money.)

5). They don't have the professional aptitude in a subject matter area and therefore are not respected by those they lead, and yet are allowed to remain in their position - no matter what. Their ineptness is ignored.

6).  They are being allowed to fail, which is my final reason. Overall they fail because senior leadership lacks the business and people acumen to recognize how this situation with all its ripple effects is systematically undermining the very things they are working to achieve, and therefore, are not motivated to remedy it. And for some, they are used to minimal effectiveness - so they have little expectation of anything different.

You've probably heard the phrase - you don't know what you don't know. So if you don't know what you're missing, how can you imagine it to be any different, or be motivated to change it?

This is why talent leaves in these kinds of environments. They know what it's like to be different - to work with healthy, productive colleagues and their professional and personal toleration is very low for immature or blind-eye leadership.

One final thought - in my 20+ years in observing and working with business leaders. there are leaders who care about building and having really healthy businesses/companies, and there are those who don't really care...that are fine with nominally effective, that just enough is ....well...enough. Sad to say this, but it's consistently proven to be true.

Originally posted on the Smart Management Initiative blog.



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