Do We Need To Rethink How We Hire Managers?

I can still hear the advice that was given to me years ago loud and clear, “You want to be a manager if you want to move up in the world”.  Being a manager is what most of us see as the first step in climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.  Depending what organization you work for and what industry you work in, being a manager is the prerequisite to director and vice president and so forth.   But what actually makes a good manager, and how do you evaluate that?

Not everyone is cut out for management
Not everyone is cut out for management

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic suggests that “The Best Managers are Boring Managers”.  In his article on Harvard Business Review, Thomas writes that “it is time for organizations to understand that their best potential managers are not the people who stand out; they are not the people who self-promote and take credit for others’ achievements, or have mastered the art of politics and upward career management. They may lack charisma and have no remarkable vision for the future, yet they are probably the best people to help execute the company vision and ensure that staff stays engaged and productive”.  Could this be true?  Well if you think about it, a manager is successful as long as his or her team can come through for them.  So it would make sense if a manager’s top priority would be to motivate the team to work at their best.  In order to do that, a good manager would want to put the needs of their team before any of their own.  Ego would be have to left at the door. 

If a good manager is one that is on the constant look out for his or her team, then one suggestion would be for the team to have a voice in managerial promotion and evaluation.  That was the suggestion by Tariq Ahmad in his post, “Should organizations ‘Promote Down’ instead of ‘Promote Up?’”.  Tariq writes that, “while a person who wants to be promoted wants to impress upper management (and may have all the requisites necessary to succeed at the next level), the colleagues and direct reports of those people might not like working with them or don’t speak highly of them, which could be an indicator of what type of future manager/director/VP this person might (or might not) be”.  It’s definitely and interesting point, especially considering that “Bad Managers Are the No. 1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs”, according to PayScale.

So what does it all add up to?  Well it goes to show that not everyone is cut out for management, and that’s ok.  Companies need to give employees other ways to move up the corporate ladder without necessarily getting into management, or management of people anyway. 

How is management handled where you are, and do you feel that the process needs to change?

Are You An “Un-motivational Expert” In The Workplace?

Are you sapping all of the energy out of your employees? Photo © Cristiano Betta
Are you sapping all of the energy out of your employees? Photo © Cristiano Betta
In this day and age, jobs are more than just a paycheck. Employees want to be challenged and motivated by the jobs they hold. Motivating employees can be tough; each person is unique and can respond to different motivational tactics differently. But sometimes we can demotivate our employees without realizing it. In no particular order, here are some things you can do to demotivate your employees.

Don’t give them any goals
You might think that the daily responsibilities that each employee has is enough to motivate them, but I would disagree. Your workers need a goal to work towards. Goals give employees something to aim for, something to achieve. The potential success of achieving goals set for them motivates employees to do their best work.

Give them goals that are too easy
Easy goals to attain are a quick way of building up someone’s confidence and keeps people interested, initially. But after a while easy goals just encourage laziness. Eventually people will know the minimal effort they’ll need to give to attain the easy goals and they’ll be done.

Give them goals that are impossible
The complete opposite of having no goals or goals that are too easy is giving your employees goals that are impossible to attain. This might work at the start of a new job, but constant failure gets old very fast, especially when people realize that it no matter how hard they try, they’ll fail anyway.

Don’t empower them
A really quick way to demotivate those working for you is to give them no responsibility. If your employees have no decision making ability whatsoever, chances are they aren’t going to stick around for very long.

Micromanage them
Along the same lines of empowerment, or lack thereof, always watching your employees every move to make sure they’re doing things the way you want them too is another really quick way to demotivate them.

Don’t listen to their ideas
Yes, your staff was hired to do a job, but they were also hired because they brought some skill that was deemed useful to the organization. Let’s face it, managers don’t know everything, nor should they be expected to. If you consistently shoot down your employees ideas, or don’t even bother to ask for any, they’ll slowly stop contributing.

Put them where they don’t fit
As a manager, you should know what your employees’ strengths and weaknesses are. If you don’t, then you’re placed in the wrong role. Placing people in roles that they’re not suited for is a quick way for people to lose interest.

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic. I think at times we focus a lot of on what motivates others (and rightfully so) that we don’t consider the opposite which could be happening right at this moment unintentionally. What did I miss? In your experience, what other ways have you been demotivated at work?