Good leaders, like good managers, provide vision, inspiration and direction (Morriss, Ely, & Frei, 2014). People want leaders who pursue goals and put emphasis on values (ethics) that are deemed important. People want leaders who respect and promote the dignity, autonomy, and self-esteem of their constituents.
A job title doesn’t make a person a leader. More so, it doesn’t direct a person to exhibit leadership behavior. It is a mistake to refer any person as a leader by virtue of his/her position. Leadership, rather than a mere quality, is more of a function that inspires individuals or groups without the coercive use of power (Roussel, Thomas, & Ratcliffe, 2014). But, let the reality speak for itself. These people actually exist. Many have been fooled by the notion that people holding an office are there because they are good managers or leaders. Some might be but it is not always the case.
While I believe both managerial and leadership skills are learned in the process, this isn’t enough reason for constituents to become minions of their growing tribe; let alone suffer the consequences of working under lousy, weak, and ineffective managers.
In no particular order, here are the top ten things ineffective and incompetent managers (by title) would say:
1) I cannot do anything about it.
This is possibly the worst thing a manager would say. While there are limits to one’s authority or power, anyone who is holding a high position can do something about his/her constituents’ opinion, suggestions, or grievances. He / she is in the position to forward, at least, these grievances to the proper authority for appropriate action. I guess this is the least the manager can do. Well, maybe, unless otherwise stated by law.
2) It has always been this way.
While we love the idea of preserving tradition, we don’t love the idea of being stuck in the old, corrupt, and ineffective system. We shouldn’t be afraid of trying out something new even when it’s scary. It’s always scary when doing things the first time. Traditions stick around because they preserve culture and customs. But if the ‘tradition’ is ineffective, might as well venture out to something new and different and make it the new tradition.
3) I don’t make the rules. I (try to) enforce them.
Is what a manager would say if he / she lived during the dictatorship. We are bound to question rules especially if they affect our welfare. I am not a fan of bending rules. Rules exist to create an organized environment that allows organizations to pursue its goals. Rather than bending rules, question. Revise. Question. Revise. Enforce.
4) I will consider your idea.
Or maybe never? Don’t hear me out. Listen! Maybe the best ideas come from the person we least expect.
5) This shouldn’t be fun.
Says the manager who’d rather live to see satisfactory ratings than a company made of happy, content, and goal-driven constituents. Work could and should be fun. Work, without play, makes Juan (or Juana) a dull boy (or girl). A productive workplace is one which people feel safe – safe to experiment, to challenge, to share information, and to support one another (Harter & Adkins, 2015).
6) You’re better than (insert name).
Or worse, “(insert name) is better than you.” Stop comparing one employee with another. Spend time discussing one’s strengths and weaknesses. Ang kalaban ay ang sarili. An employee and his/her manager should strive to improve the former’s mere average.
7) Because I’m the boss.
Says the weak manager. Just because he/she is the boss doesn’t mean he/she is right. Yet again, we live in the age where most of our heads are managers by title alone.
8) I don’t have time for you.
Yes, you do. Yes, you should have. Research have shown that managers spend greater than the average portion of their time listening. But doing a lot of listening doesn’t mean managers listen well. Listening is not the same as hearing.
9) Sh*t, P*ta, T*nga, etc.
Need I say more?
People value an effective two-way communication. It is the basis and sometimes the foundation of any healthy relationship. The best managers know and understand that each employee is unique. Each person has his / her own successes and challenges at and away from work. Knowing that employees are people first, managers move towards accommodating their employees’ uniqueness while managing toward high performance (Harter & Adkins, 2015). It is when people feel another person is invested in them that they are more engaged.
People leave bosses, not companies. A Gallup study of more than 7000 US adults revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career. In the case of the nursing profession in the Philippines, nurses leave the country primarily in search of better opportunities abroad. However, some do leave because they’ve grown tired of the system.
For several years, we’ve all been witnesses to countless managers who let titles do their jobs. Let today be the end of that era.#