If a manager is incompetent, it’s obvious how they can damage the business. What about if the manager is all about themselves? If this is the case, they can deliberately make sweeping changes to a business which will run it into the ground. I have seen this done.
Cut Your Losses?
So what attitudes should make you consider cutting your losses before it’s too late? Ask yourself if any of these describe your manager.
2) fails to listen to suggestions
3) unwilling or unable to explain rational reasons for changes
4) has a poverty consciousness
5) insincerity or phoniness when dealing with customers
6) fails to consider the long-term needs of the business
7) rarely institutes changes that increase the bottom line or improve the public face of the business
Okay, if more than one of these stands out for you, then you need to assess more closely what impact the manager is having on the bottom line of your business.
Qualities of a Good Manager
So, what should you require in a manager?
1) a person who is just as involved in the process every day as everyone else, who will step up when there is a need rather than putting a strain on others
2) a person who listens to suggestions and asks questions and then analyzes them against the mission of the business or the project
3) a person who thoroughly thinks through his/her actions before coming to a decision
4) a person who isn’t always expecting the next shoe to fall, who moves forward instead of always looking over their shoulder
5) a person who is always creating new ways for the business to prosper
6) a person who recognizes the importance of social skills in developing the reputation of the business.
Source of Some Bad Seed Managers
Of course, some people are just bullies, and the power of a management position allows them to exercise their power in a destructive way. However, there is another possible source for the emergence of an incorrigible manager: they have become the victim of a management concept.
Too often, business owners or boards of directors give people management positions who have inadequate experience, minimal leadership skills, and/or no social skills. One of the reasons this occurs is outlined in the Peter Principle. If you’ve ever worked in a medium-sized to large-sized business, I’m sure you’ve seen this concept in play. A person is doing a great job in their current position, and suddenly he is promoted based on his current performance. Sometimes this works out, but if promotions continue to be handled this way, said employee will eventually reach a “level of respective incompetence.” In other words, he will now be in a job for which he is not truly qualified. He has been promoted to his level of incompetence.
The impact on this person can vary. Often, the stress can cause them to derail important operations. Then, as a matter of survival, they may begin blaming those who work for them. Eventually this will lead to attrition in production. A year or two down the road, those who promoted this individual will start to wonder what happened. Dare I say it? Duh!
Don't be fooled. It doesn't just occur in larger businesses. As entrepreneurs, we can become somewhat dependent on certain individuals who have been performing specific jobs for us. In our enthusiasm for their work, we approach them about taking on another facet of our business. After all, outsourcing is supposed to be the game plan for entrepreneurs. Often, this individual may be as hungry for business as we are and overestimate their own skills to our detriment.
I heard a story a few years back about a writer who did this very thing with a contractor. Her enthusiasm for this person's work caused her to take her eye off the ball. It resulted in her learning a very painful lesson, financially and reputationally.
The bottom line is that as decision-makers, we should praise people for their expertise but not make the mistake of assuming they naturally have the skills to move to another level. They may, but they may not. As decision-makers, we must be prudent in our business decisions.