The Curse of the Effective Manager

On your worst days, you will question if you are a misguided utopian or in need of a sanity assessment.

It is an unfortunate reality, but you will meet few people who are willing to challenge the status quo, even when that means pain and suffering for others and themselves. Rocking the boat is not for the faint at heart, perhaps, only for those who may be called ‘dreamers’. I can’t think of a better charge to awaken from the management slumber and fully respond to Gary Hamel’s clarion call to respond to the following challenge; “As managers we are too easily satisfied. If it were otherwise, we’d be working harder to counterbalance the ideology of control. While most of us aren’t entirely content with the way our organizations work, neither are we outraged. We are not incensed by the poisonous politicking, the squandered creativity, the debilitating cynicism, the ignoble values, the ethical shortcuts, the executive egomania, and the strategic myopia that infect our organizations or at least we are sufficiently incensed to cry “enough” and commit ourselves to creating something better. Gary comments resonate deeply within my psyche, however, I cannot deny that when I begin to dream and speak the language of dreams, many shut down and begin to question if anything else other than the pedestrian is possible.  I fear that many who’ve dreamt big have long since concluded that dreams lead nowhere!

Maintaining a realistic perspective and accurately assessing your organization’s ‘they get it’ quotient is critical to your survival.

Balance in any area of life is what most of us aspire to, but we often find it allusive. If finding balance was easy then the world might be an almost perfect place. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination to find and maintain a balanced organization where we can embrace change, and at the same time accurately assess the effectiveness of the current state. When I think about what ‘they get it’ means, it is  a place where leaders are expected and allowed to lead in way that is seen by all of as effective and does not look like bureaucracy. Nothing fly’s in the face of leadership with a high ‘they get it’ quotient than paper pushing administrative bureaucrats. As so eloquently stated by Joris Liojke, “traditional management style may help organizations run efficiently but it won’t help to unleash the best gifts of every single person in your organization. The balancing act of remaining engaged and seeing the opportunities to maximize your organizations effectiveness, and realizing that most people ‘don’t get it’ is a very real and difficult paradox. Many of us who try to maintain the balance find this exhausting simply because it drains your energy from real work.

Many corporations and the individuals in positions of leadership simply don’t ‘get it’. For reasons too numerous to list, it is clear in the annals of business and conversations with executives, senior and middle managers, that evaluating your own leadership effectiveness is simply not a place many will go! The question is too introspective, too uncomfortable, and too damming for many.

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