Mediocre Managers – how much damage could they do?
If a Manager is mediocre, surely that’s better than completely useless? Let’s think about that……
What skills and attributes does a Manager need?
Looking at this from four points of view:
The HR Department or Senior Management
Google ‘Manager’ and the definitions and descriptions are endless, but some key ones include:
- A leader first and foremost, someone people feel happy to follow
- Ability to manage a team on a day to day basis
- Excellent coaching and training skills
- Knowledge of the business, products & systems
- Good time management, ability to prioritise
- Problem solver / decision maker
- Approachability – door always open
- Good communicator and listener
- Empathetic – able to put themselves in the person’s shoes
- Well presented, with good verbal and written skills
Quite a long list and by no means exhaustive, so what would happen if the person managing your team, speaking to your customers or managing you just doesn’t measure up?
This could lead to all sorts of problems. Employees may leave because they have been poorly treated or do not feel they have enough support. Backlogs may occur as work is not dealt with in a timely fashion, and wrong decisions may be made affecting your business. Customers may not get the first class service they pay for and buy less from you, or worse still stop using your company completely. Remember, bad news travels a whole lot faster than good!
And finally, your HR department or Senior Management may have a whole raft of problems to deal with including performance management,disciplinaries, grievances and dismissals. Prevention is better than cure!
Thinking about each key area in turn
Recruitment is key when looking for the right person. Really think about what you want the person to achieve in your business. Get your job description and advert right. When recruiting, plan out what you want to ask, key questions that are relevant to your business and take time to make a decision.
Once you have the person on board, draw up a performance plan, training plan and an agreed schedule of 121’s. By catching a problem early, such as a poorly performing Manger, you can use timely and specific interventions and prevent long term damage to your business. Your training plan can address areas of weakness and development. Training can come in lots of different formats, from attending external courses, mentoring / shadowing, reading manuals and online information etc. Take advantage of whatever is out there to turn your Manager into the person who is going to shine!
Having a performance management plan in place will allow you to assess performance regularly and if there is an issue and the person just isn’t measuring up, will give you the evidence to take further action in the form of a disciplinary and even dismissal.
What do you do if your own line Manager is mediocre and not supporting you? Well, jumping ship may seem like a good idea if things have got really bad, but the only person who that will affect is you. So take action first. If speaking to them is getting you no-where, then ask to speak to their line Manager, plan very carefully what you want to say, as you do not want to come across as whinging. Hopefully, that will instigate some changes.
As a customer, what would you do if you were getting less than fantastic service from a person within a supplier? Well the obvious action is to complain, put your thoughts in writing, and be constructive about what has happened and why you are unhappy. Give the company the opportunity to respond and resolve. Ultimately, if you do not get a response you are happy with, vote with your feet.
HR or Senior Management
Finally, mediocrity can cause problems for HR and Senior Management of the Company too. If a Manager is not managing effectively, HR or a Senior Manager often has to pick up the pieces. Even something such as managing performance is time consuming, with more regular 121’s, Performance Improvement Plans and regular monitoring needed and if the situation is not resolved and a disciplinary or dismissal is needed, this will be time consuming and sometimes costly.
So a mediocre Manager really isn’t acceptable and can affect so many different areas of a business. Taking action quickly whatever your interaction can prevent / resolve things getting out of hand.
For more information on managing staff effectively and
putting policy into place please contact DOHR on 01923 504 100 or email