22 March, 2018

The most dangerous creature in your business

The most dangerous creature in your business

This creature is unpredictable, they have a poison so strong that they can turn great employees and teams toxic within weeks and they put so much sediment into the waters of productivity that slows to a sludge.

Unfortunately, this creature is common in workplaces around the world and much like the cane toad in Australia, they are introduced by seemingly intelligent people to the ecosystem, but then left with no control mechanisms around them.

They are devastatingly effective and it takes courage to stand up to them and it means you must have a good plan to stop their ruin of your business.

This creature is the Accidental Manager.

I attended a workshop last week with the Institute of Managers and Leaders, an organisation I am involved with and am passionate about their cause. They understand that the accidental manager causes chaos in the workplace and that they want to create intentional leaders.

Last Friday was also the National Day of Action against Bullying and Workplace Violence. I did a video on how the accidental manager causes mentally unsafe workplaces and the damage this does. Watch it here.

The accidental manager is one who is usually technically competent and excels in their role. On this basis of technical competence, they are promoted and given managerial responsibilities, without any training. Managing and leading people is a specialist field (the military has recognised this for years – I was given 12 months of intensive leadership training before I could even come close to leading real soldiers!).

But in business, we give our most precious resource, our people, to managers who lack training and the experience on how to lead. This places business at a high risk of exposure to team toxicity setting in.

There is only one way to ensure that this doesn’t occur. As a business owner or leader in your organisation, who is responsible for appointing managers – you must consider a person’s potential for leading and managing people, not just their technical capabilities.

If this person is capable of managing and leading, then they must be willing to engage in an ongoing process of professional development and reflection. This new role is a new profession for them. You expect your technicians to remain current and do a certain amount of professional development in their trade or expertise (for example a plumber must remain current in their certification and an accountant must meet certain obligations to continue to legally provide advice).

Your leaders and managers must be considered in the same vein. This is a professional area of expertise. If they are no longer willing to engage in the process of becoming what the IML calls an intentional leader, then you must remove them from this profession.

Now this is not hard, but it does take some action. We must move past this accidental promotion of people into management roles and be deliberate in our approach and development of intentional leadership in our businesses and organisations.

Train your people and your business and organisation will excel.

Passionate about leadership too? If you have a specific question about the growth of your leadership or others, let me know. Get in touch!

© 2019 Paul Mead