Managers: You are the Weakest Link, Goodbye

A common issue in organizations is corporate politics where promotions occur not because of merit but due to connections. In other words, many times it is not how hard you work but who you know that determines advancement. However, there is an entirely different issue at hand.

People who excel at their job; thus, in their company’s view, earned the right to be promoted often do not know how to lead. Therefore, many managers do not contribute to the success or growth of their team.

It is rare, particularly in smaller companies, for managers to receive formal training in the art of leading a team, forecasting, and/or quality management. According to the article, without this knowledge managers tend to either overcompensate to prove their worth or over-delegate tasks. When managers overcompensate poor decisions are made as they tend to not take into account the thoughts of their team. Over-delegating of tasks leads to an enormous amount of pressure on the other team members while the manager is neither taking responsibility nor adding any value to the project.

Once a manager is in a position of power it can get inside their head, and they start to believe they deserve more power. It becomes less about how well they preform their job and more about their title. This attitude affects the whole organization and leads to resentment of the management team.

A couple of the biggest keys to success for an operations manager is to be a better decision maker than their subordinates and have the ability to entrust vital knowledge to other team members. Managers are valuable if they can preform the two keys above. However, in many organizations there are managers at all levels that cannot do either well.

Is it possible to spread all of a managers duties, responsibilities and knowledge across a whole team and still successfully complete projects? Without a “ring leader” communication determines success or failure. Some companies such as, Valve Software,, and Zappos have adopted a manager-less system that promotes creativity, unity, and flexibility. Benefits do exist, but the success rate of projects becomes less predictable.

Yet, in reality, managers are needed in many situations; it is difficult to argue with that. However, companies need the right people with the right attitude to fill those spots. It has to go beyond an individual being good at their job. Companies need to focus on a potential manager’s past experience and leadership skills in addition to providing them the tools to succeed. Alternatively, corporations may want to consider cutting some middle men to improve efficiency and rid the themselves of weak links.

9 thoughts on “Managers: You are the Weakest Link, Goodbye

  1. I agree with what you mentioned about how leaving a corporation/company without a manager can lead to the unpredictable success rates on projects. Having someone that has a clear objectively focused, mindset that is not only experience, but can communicate effectively while being positive definitely helps to keep the morale of a team up. With that being said, I also think that there has to be a certain level of respect that each team member has to feel towards their manager, team and company. This respect replaces the common feeling of fear that many feel towards their management, which while it does tend to create motivation, leaves people less of a sense of camaraderie and overall loyalty.

  2. Great post! Sadly, I agree that a lot of the time people move up through connections. This causes issues because it does not mean that the person is necessarily fit for the position. Personally, one of my friends worked with this girl who got hired as a manager at her company. The manager wasn’t really focused about the benefit of the company but more about her title. She had a huge power trip and caused a mess at the store. I agree with you that to be a great manager, you must be a great decision maker as well as being able to trust your employees.

  3. Very good read. I like how you talked about the break down effect of a manager who cannot lead and their decisions. I am unfortunately familiar with managers who have this type of mentality. One of my old managers did not know how to lead and constantly tried to overcompensate for it. She delegated her tasks to the assistant manager and the rest of the employees, leaving her with nothing to do. It was true that we all resented her for giving us all of her tasks in addition to what we already have to do on a daily basis and towards the end, her management skills is what made the store suffer in sales and customer service. I have to agree that in order to be a strong manager, you must be able to made good effective decisions for the good of the company and staff, not for your own personal gains.

  4. What? No way! You mean you’re trying to tell me that some managers made it to the position they are at because they had connections?! (<— insert sarcasm there)

    Sad, yet true. I can't say I've seen it all at 22 years old but I have had three jobs since the age of 16 and I can definitely say that I've seen people be put in positions for other reasons other than they have mastered the skills and tasks that the title would bring. The three areas I have worked in are hospitality, automotive, and retail. Can't say that I didn't think about leaving school and settling with an Associate degree because if I made friends with the right people, I could work my way to the top very quickly. Imagine that? I would not have to pay for school out of pocket anymore and I would be making a solid six figure income by the time my peers got their first real job fresh out of college. But no, I can't do that. Someone out there has been working as hard if not harder than I am to land that job and I can honestly say that I would give that person the spot if I knew his or her situation. It's called paying it forward.

    Now, the idea that psychologically speaking, people change when they have significant roles in their job field is very well true. Again, I've seen it…several times. I get it, you moved up in life and you can afford fancy restaurants on a daily basis but don't ignore me when I asked how are you doing or become the jerk boss who instead of leading the way ends up requesting so may things out of the staff that one by one they all quit and then you're left wondering, "Geez, could it be me that is making them leave?"

  5. I believe this is the case for most jobs in the world. Not just managers in a business environment. It’s extremely important to network and make connections, but at the same time you still need an education and job experience. Not sure if this trend will ever turn around.

  6. Excellent article! I have experienced poor managers in the past and have found it a burden for myself, other employees, and even the profitability of a store when a manager is not fit for their position. In particular, I have found certain managers to be overly money-hungry, unsympathetic toward employee feelings and input, and biased towards certain employees whom they have developed friendships with. This can seriously hurt a business and is something that I feel should be addressed by way of education and hands-on training. Additionally, as the author mentioned, a manager has a duty to convey vital information to its employees as well as to keep a tight ship running. Although there are certainly companies who have adopted a manager-less organizational structure, I think that if a certain firm really wishes to take its profits and organizational success to another level, a highly competent manager should be appointed to lead the team.

  7. Thank you for putting this up! I couldn’t agree more with the fact that some managers have no idea what it really even means to be a manager. It honestly makes me kind of angry how these days anyone can be a manager with out a degree. They have no previous experience or training of any sort like you mentioned yet they get to be the one to lead a team of people? It’s unfair and extremely frustrating. I was in a situation where my manager had absolutely no idea what they were doing and actually came to me for advice and lessons on how to take leadership and keep employees motivated. I don’t quite understand how people who have never taken any classes or have prior experience can be chosen as a manager. There are certain things people may already know, but you definitely learn a lot more in a management course.

  8. Those are great examples of companies with a manager-less system. I have been in a position where my team was without a manager for a couple of months and we were quite successful. I think our success could be attributed to our dynamic as a team. Duties can be delegated for the team by the team but this requires a close knit and cooperative team. It is true some managers let the role get to their head and that can sometimes bring a team closer together which can also be a good thing but a great leader is always a plus.

  9. Great Post! Unfortunately this happens more often than not. People are constantly being put in position of leadership, due to connections, without knowing how to lead. A lot of times people that have potential are put in leadership positions without being trained. This is happening now in the company that I work for. My company is bringing in new people from too many different places who have potential to be a good and efficient manager but unfortunately this new management are not resetting their mind that they are at a new company and they want to do things the way they did it at their old company. I believe that having a good manager, is a person who will always encourage creativity. Therefore, I’m not sure how I feel about about a company who does not promote or have management. Once too may times I’ve seen that a lot of people don’t know what to do if there is no manager telling them what to do.

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