The Curse of the Effective Manager

There are literally hundreds of business book titles on the virtues of good management and leadership skills. Many of these books articulate the perils and misfortunes of those who engage in poor management styles and the subsequent effect on the poor souls who are mismanaged by those who use worn out ineffective techniques. What I have failed to read and will attempt to highlight in the next few paragraphs are the very challenging realities of implementing many of the best ideas from our business professors and leaders of some of the most successful corporation. If I could paraphrase the warnings on some television shows…don’t try this at your office…unless you are prepared for the following.

You will draw the kind of attention to yourself that you don’t want.

Not everyone is in love with the idea of the change agent. As we know, change is difficult and uncomfortable for many, so it is to be expected that the changes you advocate to be an effective manager will most certainly upset someone’s applecart. The pushback, second guessing or blatant refusal to accept what you are proposing is a reality that cannot be avoided. So when there is an attempt to lead change, some people often have a negative reaction to those leaders. In discussing this topic with Joanne (not her real name)  she remarked, ‘And when you are implementing change you “are” met with suspicion or resisted, this is an excellent sign. It means you are “really” touching, if not impacting belief systems…otherwise no one would care. Joanne is leading a corporate revolution worldwide about how work gets done and measured and is probably the most qualified to speak on this topic. She would agree with me that it is unfortunate that only a few leaders have an appetite for changing belief systems, even though they know their organizations are far from effective. To further support my position as to the external opposition you will experience when you identify the need for change, Jane Smith (not her real name) states that “leaders who attempt to implement change are often ignored or met with suspicion, so they give up before they are able to achieve the (better) future state.

In my own experience I continue to find it difficult to get the attention of those who should be most interested in building organizations which are truly effective. The keepers of the status quo continue to demand the attention of a rapidly growing disinterested workforce, not because anyone cares about the status quo, but they simply find it easier to do what they are told (order-takers). That way they do not have to deal with the ‘unwanted’ attention received by those who want to do much more than simply what they are told (engaged employees).

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