Today, most managers accept the idea that it is their duty to develop their collaborators. This means, among others:
– spotting High Potentials and help them designing a path to reach their optimum,
– pushing the ‘Good-In-Job’ so they deliver at peak level and training them so they can take on more responsibilities,
– giving the ‘Overqualified’ some tutoring and training duties, making them represent their unit in cross-departments projects: finding for them ways to still progress, while they wait for the next opportunity at the right level.
In real life, though, very few manage to do so.
This is why Head Hunters never have a lack of unsatisfied candidates: people who have been promised by their organizations some development/career path but who are stuck in place.
Companies and their directors are not stupid. Why do they allow so many valuable team members to consider that ‘The Truth Is Out There’?
One of the main reason according to my observations: they do not address the issue of mediocre managers.
How to recognize such managers?
Usually they are over-attached to their position, their status, their privileges. They hesitate to train, to give exposure to their good collaborators, to give them responsibilities. Consequently, rather than ‘kindling the fire’ of sharp and efficient collaborators, they -knowingly or unconsciously- work to put out this fire. Whether they are ‘jealous’ of their comfort, simply blind to the value good team members add, fail to see the larger picture, or are not smart enough to care, the result is always the same: little by little they harm the organization.
It is difficult to see it before it’s too late and precious contributors are lost.
It is never easy to let a collaborator go. In most cases you have to do it face-to-face (I have never met the real-life equivalent of Anna Kendrick and George Clooney in the movie ‘In the Air’) and you have some kind of connection with them (maybe you helped recruiting them or play alongside them in the company football team).
Most directors consider it even more difficult when the person to fire is a manager, because they:
– see it as a public acknowledgement of failure: after all, they asked said manager to represent them for some time,
– are afraid of the impact the ‘firing’ may have on the teams and the business continuity.
So usually they do not get rid of mediocre managers. And these people stay long in the company, because they are comfortable, all the more that they ‘eliminate competition’ simply by preventing its development.
I will not say that ‘terminating’ a certain amount of collaborators per year is compulsory, not even necessary. But I urge you to consider the case of your managers. Do not tolerate poor performance in their collaborators development.
How can you develop a team if you do not generate movement and mobility?