August 15, 2013

How Weak and Incompetent Managers Drive Motivation Out of a Team and Eventually the Team Out of the Organization

Reporting into a weak and incompetent manager can be a nightmarish experience for anyone. Those who have ever been in such a situation in their workplace would very well understand how energy-draining reporting into a weak and incompetent manager can be.

First and foremost, it is useful to understand how organizations place a weak and incompetent manager into his or her position. Some of the reasons are listed below:
  • The manager is placed by another weak and incompetent above him or her - This is the case in an organization where the top management layer is like frozen ice which allows no new and novel ideas to get in. The top management folks act as a mutual admiration club with a glorified impression of their competencies and capabilities. This is similar to being a big frog in a small well with a strong but utterly foolish belief that the well is the world.
  • The manager is placed due to him or her being a part of the old boys club - The manager is asked to artificially manage an area he or she knows little or nothing about and to ensure this doesn’t impact work in that area a professionally competent manager is also hired and assigned to do the real work. It’s like having a guy with a PG in a subject being forced to report into a guy with a KG in that subject just because the KG guy has strong credentials in the sense he is a loyalist of the top man and a part of the old boys club. Such a reporting relationship is not likely to run for a long time as the professionally competent manager will soon figure out the top man’s hidden agenda.
It is worthwhile to note the point that in professional organizations chances of this happening are far lesser than in the non-professional organizations.

Such incompetent managers are generally weak managers also. They will never take a stand and never defend the professionally competent manager and her team on technical grounds as the weak and incompetent manager would not only not know what to do but being a “yes sir” man of the top man offer inane reasons and suggestions . And in fact, oppose the professionally competent manager in most of the discussions.

Not only that, the weak and incompetent manager will represent that area in the important forums and discussions (since the professionally competent manager will not be allowed to represent as part of the hidden agenda of the top man and old boys club) and make illogical and utterly stupid commitments to other stakeholders. For every suggestion he will say yes without knowing what it takes and how it will be done. This would frustrate the professionally competent manager and the team as well.

The weak and incompetent manager will also try to outdo and outsmart the professionally competent manager in email communications with the top man. After realizing that he or she is working in a non-professionally organization the professionally competent manager will participate in such email communications with a clear understanding of the uselessness of offering a differing view.

Such a situation can be highly de-motivating and demeaning to a professionally competent manager and her team. As a result the likelihood of the professionally competent manager and the team leaving the organization is very high in such cases. Weak and incompetent managers drive motivation out of a team and eventually the team out of the organization.

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