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The True Cost of Bad Managers—and Why You Need Really Great Ones

Just as the best managers can lift their organizations to new heights, the worst managers can send their organizations plummeting into the depths below. With bad managers at the helm, employees are left feeling confused, underappreciated, and unmotivated. Executives have to do double the work to make up for what the managers lack. The ultimate result is that business progress stagnates or stops altogether. Patty Azzarello, CEO of Azzarello Group, writes about how to improve management in the business.

Take the Good with the Bad

Azzarello reverses the negative discussion by pointing to a Harvard Business Review article that talks about the value of good managers. Businesses that hire managers based on talent see “significant competitive advantage,” and so the best thing a business can do is ensure a great manager guides every project. The reason why this is easier said than done is that the talent required to be “great” is hard to come by. Some of these talents include being able to motivate all employees, overcome adversity to force positive outcomes, and create a culture of clear accountability.

Business Mistakes

Businesses place a lot of emphasis on generating revenue and cutting costs, but they seldom think about manager improvement. This is a grave oversight, considering that great managers will intuitively find ways to cut costs and improve the bottom line. Similarly, hiring freezes can be another big mistake, because an understaffed team is going to produce understaffed results. You never want to cut off potential channels for finding more great managers, especially when the alternative is promoting someone not suited for the job.

The Creative Spark

Azzarello thinks that in order to improve management, the business needs to make its expectations apparent to managers. The business should be able to explain clearly what “good” management is. By Azzarello’s estimate, managers tend not to “step up” either because they do not realize the need for it (lacking imagination), or because they do not think they have the permission for it:

Imagination: You need to get it into the mind of your managers that they need to be good at and do these new manager-things. Some poorly performing managers will do better, simply be being made aware of the game.

Permission: Some people don’t think they have the permission to step forward and lead in this way — especially if no one has ever talked to them about it. You need to make it clear that not only is it OK, it’s required. And if they don’t have the skills or a plan to lead in this way, you need to train them or let them go.

Properly motivated, some bad managers can become great managers. In other cases, you need to go headhunting those great managers yourselves. Regardless of how you do it, the point stands that if you want the business to prosper, its projects need to be handled by people who know how to execute every time. You can read Azzarello’s article here: http://www.azzarellogroup.com/web/2014/06/10/the-true-cost-of-bad-managers/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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