THE appointment of employees to managerial positions is often a cause of concern.
In many instances after the appointment of a manager or supervisor the same concerns exist. This is evident in today’s business world where we have managers holding in positions they should never have been given. They are simply “managerial misfits”.
How do we go about identifying people we would like to promote or appoint to managerial positions and trust that we have made the right decisions?
As with any appointment, the decision should not be made lightly and certainly not just because of a perceived need. This I might add, applies to the appointment of people to any position involving leadership, responsibility for others, responsibility for portfolios, ministerial appointments and so on.
To make the right decision regarding such appointments, it is not sufficient to identify a need and simply choose the person we think is the most suitable.
There are four essentials that must be considered and should be apparent without which failure is guaranteed.
The person chosen must be capable, must be willing to accept and deal effectively with authority, must accept the responsibility that goes with the position and must be willing to acknowledge the fact there will be accountability.
The person considered must not only be capable of doing the job, but also should already have demonstrated ability and competency as a leader and manager.
Managerial qualities should be evident to others. The person considered should be seen to be talented, skilled, qualified and accomplished.
Being capable involves knowledge of the company, its values, mission and objectives.
It involves being capable of leading others, while also commanding their respect.
Finally, the person must be capable of achieving the desired results and should be able to demonstrate a history of similar achievement.
Any person being considered must of necessity be capable of dealing with authority.
Before making an appointment, it is necessary to consider how the incumbent deals with those in authority. How does he or she respond to authority? What is their understanding of authority? How will they use it?
Once appointed, the manager or supervisor must be given authority. A mistake made in many companies is that managers are appointed, but they are not given the authority needed to allow them to do what is required of them.
That automatically prevents the manager from doing what is expected. In making any appointment, be sure to outline the level of authority and the inevitable responsibilities that go with it.
In the event that a manager is not given authority, they should assume authority.
Far too often managers say: “I was not given the authority.”
Once appointed, it is the manager’s right and at the same time obligation to clarify the level of authority.
The alternative is to assume authority within the constraints of the position, while at the same time seeking to have this aspect of the appointment clarified. There is no room in management for individuals who are not prepared to accept authority, willing to assume authority or who refuse to acknowledge authority.
In any managerial position, having the ability to accept the responsibilities of the position is essential.
A teacher is responsible for the well-being and behaviour of pupils. Parents are responsible for the behaviour, upbringing, education and overall care of their children. Supervisors responsible for the staff under their control, for applying company policies and procedures, for achieving results with and through others and for upholding the vision and values of the organisation.
There are three forms of responsibility that need to be taken into consideration, and ability and verification in all three areas should be evident. These are responsibility given to the manager, assumed responsibility and the personal responsibility that he or she was born with.
We are all born with certain responsibilities. This is exemplified by the way in which we accept responsibility for our behaviour.
No one gave us this responsibility; no one had to tell us we had it.
Potential managers should have demonstrated their personal responsibility in the workplace and be capable of verifying responsibility in real life situations.
Managers will also be given areas of responsibility for which they should be held accountable. There is no such thing as shared responsibility or shared accountability.
A potential manager should have exemplified ability in this area by the way in which he or she accepted responsibility for their own work-related activities and for decisions made.
Finally, there is assumed responsibility. This is when a person decides to do something about a situation. The have not been given authority to take action, but because of the situation they assume authority and accept responsibility.
A hazard, for example, exists in a workplace situation where it is not the employee’s direct area of responsibility. The employee realises a danger exists, assumes responsibility and tries to remedy the situation.
The employee is prepared to accept the consequences of the action. The employee is demonstrating ability to assume responsibility and is at the same time prepared to be held accountable.
Taking the example just given, should the employee be held accountable for his or her actions? The answer is obviously, yes.
When a person assumes responsibility, it is natural to accept that they will be held accountable.
This is the true sign of a quality leader and manager. We are accountable for what we do in life and in business. When we make decisions, we must take responsibility for those decisions and accept that we will be accountable. A person who drives a car at 180km/h is responsible and will be held accountable should there be an accident or should they be fined for speeding.
In considering a managerial appointment, we need to consider to what extent the person exemplifies an ability to accept responsibility and to be held accountable. To what extent has the person done so in the past?
Appointing or promoting a person to a managerial position, or any similar position, without considering and establishing verifiable evidence of the above attributes is futile. Doing so will place you on a path to disaster and destruction.
Des Squire is a managing member at AMSI and ASSOCIATES. You can call him on 082 800 9057 or email [email protected]