NOTE – This “problem” with culture is linked to Style Over
Substance and the Dunning-Kruger Effect defined elsewhere.
If you ask people “What are the skills are required for
someone to be an effective and efficient manager?” you would get a list
something like this:
Good Communication Skills.
Ability to Delegate.
Empower the Team.
Listening to and respect for Others.
Discipline and Focus.
Good Time Management.
Over a 40 year career, I have known many many many managers
and many many many people who were not managers but aspired to be. I would also
say that in my experience, at least 70% of the people who were managers, were
really bad at being managers, displaying almost none of the skills associated
with good managers and in many cases exactly the opposite (for example not
looking at the bigger picture, not respecting and listening to other peoples
opinions, not delegating but micromanaging, etc). I would also say that at
least 70% or more of people who were not managers (but would like to have
been), would have made excellent managers, as they displayed almost all the
skills of good managers (e.g looking at the bigger picture, respecting and
listening to other people’s opinions, not looking to micromanage others, etc).
So what the hell is going on here?
I believe the problem is related to Sociopathy and the
traits of Sociopaths.
Of course, I am no psychology expert, so what I say is not
based on sound scientific evidence, however, it is based on 40 years of in the
field observations and a mind that can spot patterns.
Some of the major traits of Sociopaths are the following:
Grandiose Sense of Self
Lack of remorse, shame or guilt
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Research into the kinds of jobs that Sociopaths are
interested show time and time again that the first place on the list goes to
Capitalist positions of leadership (Managers, CxO’s, etc) offer power,
autonomy, command, and status.
These traits largely affect how one person can manipulate
other people. For example, for a Manager, whether it is people below them
(report to them), on the same level (other managers) or above them (CxOs).
It is also very difficult for people to separate the
charming, amenable, likeable and charming traits of someone from other, perhaps
more valid traits – aka traits more specific to a particular job.
Until Enterprises recognise this as a serious problem which
can cause other and numerous knock-on problems, we will continue to have people
rising to positions of power that are exactly the opposite of the people that
we need in those positions.