A weak arm arm wrestling a strong arm

Is your organization weak or strong?

Leadership and management are important factors of any organization. Often times the difference between a strong and a weak organization is when one falters in either of those important concepts.

Some of my observations about weak organizations

  • Managers are often appointed based on reward for time served, connections in the organization or for some type of solid performance in an area that has nothing to do with being able to deal with people.
  • If basic leadership training is offered (it usually is not) only the front-line managers attend.  The executives don’t think they have anything to learn.
  • Lousy managers are tolerated indefinitely.
  • The HR function is focused on recruiting new employees to deal with the high turnover and on dealing directly with discipline matters.

Some of my observations about strong organizations

  • Managers are appointed based on their demonstrated ability to deal with people.  
  • Care is taken either through formal job roles or through caring management action which creates informal advanced roles that do not involve leading others, designed for solid performers who do not have management aptitude.
  • Leadership training is offered to all manager levels in an organization
  • Senior management reviews training ahead of time, attends the training and re-enforces the concepts by setting the example and by continuous coaching.
  • Lousy managers are dealt with promptly.
  • The HR function is focused on development of staff, turnover is low, and handling discipline matters is led by the manager of the person with the issues, but with support and oversight from the HR function.

A greater focus on leadership and management is one of the many things that make organizations strong, but keep in mind that very few organizations demonstrate all the strong characteristics all at the same time.  Things do ebb and flow.  That is understandable.

It’s when organizations fall into the lowest common denominator state, where they demonstrate all the weak characteristics at the same time, that it becomes a problem.  It can be easy to ignore the leadership issues indefinitely, but great leaders have the courage to confront their team’s weaknesses and help them improve – one problem at a time.