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How Managers & Leaders Ruin Companies

Managers and leaders who think their role should serve them and treat it as their little kingdom or social club where they can compensate for their shortcomings should never be in managerial or leadership roles. 


In many instances, company owners remain oblivious to the destructive actions of their leaders and managers, undermining the company's interest.

Organisations greatest problem is incompetence. 

Unfortunately, we often overlook this issue due to Debbie's competency framework, which blinds us to competence flaws that are damaging to organisations. Here are a few that you should put on your list:


  • Nepotism - people will prioritise relationships over skills and talent. They don't care what's best for the company and the team they care about their relationships. I always say that people who come through referrals must be assessed just as much as other candidates and rejected if they are not up for the role. Nepotism just like favouritism can lead to keeping unproductive incompetent employees who hurt not only the company's performance but also staff morale. NEVER hire a person because you like them instead of who can do the job the best. 

  • Ethics - Ethics is a massive issue in every organisation. Things I have seen during the years make you wonder if there are still good people out there. Yesterday I was laughing because an HR VP who received complaints with proof about her Finance VP's illegal and unethical behaviour posted "Come and work with the fantastic ......" on LinkedIn, instead of firing him. The damage these types of people cause is unquantifiable but do you think that shareholders and owners are aware? Of course, not! How would they? Companies are too big and these people can go under the radar but it doesn't mean they are not causing damage. 

  • Avoidance of conflict - We teach conflict resolution day and night but nobody is addressing those leaders who are yet to grow a backbone. You have no idea of the number of senior leaders I have met in my life who say nothing but constantly complain. Oftentimes, they are not even capable of addressing issues that are causing conflict amongst employees because "let's not create problems". Well, you are the problem if you shy away from conflict because it is too uncomfortable for you. 

  • Fear - The worst leaders are those who are scared and scared leaders are almost always incompetent. Competent people stand up to others because they know their craft, they are proud of their expertise, and they will not have difficulty finding a new role or figuring out how to make money from their knowledge. Competent people will figure out the way forward and you cannot intimidate them which brings me to bullying. 

  • Bullying & Harassment - Interestingly, we make training programs out of these two but never associate them with competence. It is! When you have leaders who are constantly messaging you outside of your working hours, calling you in at night because they had an idea, putting a Fitbit on everyone so they can use that data against you, those who shout because lack emotional regulation, humiliate, degrade intimidate or mock others and, gossip those are some of the signs of severe incompetence. 

  • Psychological safety - Why don't we measure psychological safety amongst employees and add that to managers' and leaders' competencies and annual appraisals when we know its negative impact on people and the organisation? 

  • Self-awareness - I am not even going to go there..... I just look at people sometimes and think "Did your parents forbid you from analysing yourself?" 


Why do we overlook behavioural competencies that are in plain sight ruining organisations? Why don't we start measuring leaders based on competencies that are important to the people they lead? Would it be too inconvenient? To whom? 


In the business world, we often say, "What doesn't get measured doesn't get done" but we conveniently abandon this principle when it comes to leadership. If we are so eager to talk about psychological safety, harassment, discrimination, bullying, corruption, ethics etc. why those are not built into our competency frameworks and why don't we measure them? Why don't we rigorously measure anything that is bothering the workforce or what we are so quick to talk about on LinkedIn?


Hypocrisy should also be added to the competency list I guess:-)))))



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