Five Reasons Your Senior Managers May Not Be Effective

Are your senior-level managers doing the jobs you need them to do? Are they doing and contributing what someone at their level, with their stature and pay, is expected to do and do consistently? If not, it may be time for you and them to hone in on a few behaviors and mindset changes needed to enhance their performance to bring the value you need and expect of them and their positions. The following five behaviors or mindsets can help you start that conversation.

1 – They Are Paid Too Much for the True Value They Provide:

Senior managers are expected to earn premium salaries. However, they’re also expected to perform at premium levels to earn their compensation packages. They should not be paid a premium because over the years, they’ve paid their dues and deserve it.  If that’s your model for executive compensation, you’re setting yourself, your workforce, and your organization up for a lot of ‘dead wood’ at the top. Organizations with this model often find managers in senior level positions who basically retire on the job, don’t want to rock the boat, and simply coast until they can ultimately retire. Their incentive for continued excellence has been taken away. They’re rewarded for maintaining status quo. Premium salaries should be commensurate with premium performance.

2 – Their Leadership Success Came from Star Performers Being Stars:

Some senior-level managers became successful leaders because they had star performers who carried their teams and them through the years. They basically stayed out of the way and let their teams succeed. However, when the stars move on and ‘average’ performers come onto the team, the leader can’t adjust leadership styles to rebuild a winning team. They blame the new team members and poor recruiting for their teams’ flailing performance. They don’t have the honed leadership skills they believe they do to create and recreate great teams.

3 – They Haven’t Built Departmental Depth and Talent:

One of the most-telling signs of a senior manager’s skill to me, is his or her history in building depth and talent in whichever team, department or organization they’ve led. Do they have a history of building depth, expecting and challenging all team members to continuously learn, grow and change? If they’ve consistently built solid, organizations with teams of deep talent, they’re effective managers. If however, they’ve continued to work with only a handful of key team players who move from organization to organization with them, they’re not effective senior level managers; they’re change agents. Senior level managers and change agents are both valuable but each serves a different purpose.

4 – Talk a Great Theoretical Talk but Can’t Apply What They Know:

Senior-level managers are often some of the best educated people within your organization. They have certifications, designations, degrees, advanced degrees, and often times, doctorates. They’ve had management and leadership classes in college and beyond. However, ineffective senior managers believe they know all of that leadership stuff already. Sure, they know the terminology, the theories, and have read every best-seller on leadership. However, they aren’t able to translate theory into application. They aren’t able to identify the correct real-time situation to apply the theories, models, and insights. They can spout theory in meetings, but they fall short in application – and their team members know it.

5 – They Don’t Believe They Need Coaching or Training Themselves:

As noted above, most senior-level managers have attended numerous training sessions. They’ve heard it all before – several times. As a result, if they don’t intentionally focus on learning themselves, they can easily tune it out, believe they’re too experienced for the topics to be relevant or even remotely helpful to them. And when they’re offered coaching, they’re insulted. How dare you suggest they need help? The people who push for change in the organization and others, resist changing themselves.

Do any of the above describe your senior managers…or you? If so, do something.

This article was originally published on Liz’s website, and is reprinted with permission.

© 2015, Liz Weber. All rights reserved.

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