Your Crew – Competent, or Not?

In Business, Business Management, Coaching, Culture, Leadership by Stephen Rogers

Last month I raised the question as to whether the Captain (=CEO/MD) was just steering the ship, or instead charting the course for the business to follow.  I left a second question hanging; the competence of your crew to help the vessel (=business) get to the destination safely.    I have seen far too many organisations struggle and suffer because people they have placed in positions of responsibility are not capable or are just incompetent.  It may not be the individual’s fault, but it is definitely the leader’s mistake in letting it continue without correction.  As leaders we have are responsible for ensuring those under our supervision can succeed.  We promote people without considering whether current skills are adequate, and what additional competences are required to fill the new position.   Without support and training they will fail, and in the process the business will take a step backwards.

Forbes and Gallop did a two-year study of 35000 “leaders” which showed seriously conflicting information (2018).  80% of “leaders” perceived they exhibited the essential qualities to lead others in their organisation, but actual leadership qualities were only demonstrated in 18%. Similar statistics are reflected by studies undertaken by the University of Melbourne. 

Our people are the greatest resource our business has.  A Manager will treat them as tokens, to be used for transactions, without necessarily thinking about their value and ability.   A Leader will look at the overall capacity and aptitude of the individual, ensure they are a good fit, and provide support to help them reach a new level.  The rationale for ensuring competent people are on our team is not to tick a box, but to get the best out of the processes required to run the business and make it efficient and effective. The more effort we put into our people to make them competent is actually a step closer to being successful. We should not look at investing time and effort into our people as a burden, but as a deposit into accomplishing our purpose.

.Do we promote people based on longest tenure, or an urgent need that requires filling by the next available subject?  It is like rolling the dice, hoping it will work and turn out ok.  That is what we are aiming for; adequate, ok, average.  We hope THEY will step up and fill the shoes, and be responsible, rather than it being a planned appointment.  How can we expect any degree of success or growth?  You may think you are leading your people, but that can only be reflected in those you are supervising, their growth and their success.  Take a look in the mirror and determine what else you can do to grow yourself, and the people who entrust their success to you.