All organisations need good leaders and a good Manager should also be a good Leader. So why is this so often not the case in business organisations?…
I have coached many people who have told me they have a bad manager and they are critical of their management style – it could be autocratic, micro managing, dictatorial, self-reliant… the list goes on! Essentially, these Managers are not supporting their teams in a constructive way. It is a concerning and common problem in organisations which fall into the trap of recruiting or promoting people to Manager because they are good at their current job, rather than seeking a Manager with real leadership qualities who can motivate their staff and help take the business forward.
How many people in your organisation have been promoted to Manager simply because they are good at their existing job? Whilst being successful in your role is great, it does not automatically make you a great leader. An employee being led by a Manager who has been placed in an inappropriate role can feel demoralised and disheartened, creating unnecessary tension and struggle within the team. Moreover, a person who has become a Manager without possessing the required skills can feel stressed and overwhelmed by the tough demands of the new role. Ultimately, it can lead to resignations from valued people who would have been ideal employees under different circumstances.
An organisation which employs excellent leaders can carry out its business strategy and meet its goals more successfully than competitors lacking in management expertise. So what are the qualities of leadership that a business should seek in recruiting the right candidate? It is expedient to think laterally and to carefully consider all the options available.
Some people are natural leaders, and yet leadership is also a skill that can be nurtured and developed in the right people. For example James McGregor Burns developed the popular theory of transformation leadership in his 1978 publicised work Leadership. This type of leadership focuses on equality and fairness. The traits within it are to encourage, to support and to inspire. A detailed or technical knowledge of the role of each team member is not essential, provided the leader can inspire and motivate the team in order to fulfil the strategy and vision of the business organisation. Someone from a different industry with transferable skills may be exactly what is needed. Or maybe someone within the firm who is technically more junior yet possesses transformational leadership skills could be a perfect fit.
In a Management Job Description it is essential to highlight the required leadership skills and even more important to ensure these are met with in the successful candidate.
So why are companies still recruiting the wrong Managers? Often because in the short term it is the easy answer. But if real value is placed on the company strategy, then HR and recruitment teams need to create a change. They must be open-minded, and take the more considered approach of finding people with the ability to fit the role of Leader as well as Manager.
Filling your business with leaders who can see your companies vision is ultimately what will drive tangible success.
Burns, J,M. (1978). ‘Leadership’, New York, Harper Perennial Political Classics. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leadership-Harper-Perennial-Political-Classics/dp/006196557X/ (Accessed: 2nd Jan 2021).