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HBR Tips on Lazy Management

February 4, 2019


Management is among the vital elements in an organisation as it creates cohesiveness for the company. A good management gives employees knowledge and motivation to keep doing their best for company’s growth and development. Setting and planning strategy or goals for employee are also the tasks of management team. Additionally, a management that keeps improving themselves can retain employees longer in company.

There are, according to Zenger Folkman, some competencies that a manager should have in order to create good management. Without these competencies, there is a possibility that management can fall into some short of ‘laziness’. Harvard Business Review revealed that lazy management can drive away top performers. That being said, if the management in your company shows the signs of laziness, there is a possibility that you will face retention issue in the near future. Then the question is, what can leaders do if the management team shows signs of laziness?

See also: Are You a Good Manager or Great Leader?

First, when employees feel disengaged which results on hampering productivity and performance at work, rather than asking what’s wrong with them, you need to consider a possibility that the management might have been doing something wrong. By doing so, managers can find solution to address the case by collecting data. For example, using pulse survey can tell you how employees feel about their job and how the management is doing. Managers need to take immediate and intentional steps gathering evidence in order to inform what managers can do to re-engage the employees. Thus, by signalling that managers is willing to work hard and make meaningful changes, employees would feel more supported and inclined to stay.

Second, manager’s effort will result to ongoing advances in practice and study of management, in which it can offer an ever-expanding set of tools for diagnosing and addressing employee retention challenges. Unfortunately, not every tool can fit every manager’s style and organisation’s circumstance. Here are resources that can be used to learn about ‘people analytics’ and how to improve organisations.  

Finally, when retention issue happens suddenly, leaders should consider whether lazy management is contributing to the problem. If that is the case, then the solution to fix such management is by giving support, incentives, and direction to motivate managers. This way, they will have time and energy to lead the teams in a more actively way.

Instead of hastily blaming lazy managers for retention issue, leaders should critically observe and reflect their selection and promotion processes to determine why these individuals were placed into managerial positions. If they are in that position because of excellent technical skills, they might turn into lazy managers because they are taken away from what they can do best. If the promotion processes do not focus on identifying those who are most likely to embrace the challenge of managing well, lazy management might spread throughout organisation.

Therefore, for this case, leaders should first know the person best – if possible know the person personally – in order to know their characteristics so you will not end up choosing the wrong candidates.

Read also: 4 Most Frustrating Things a Manager Can Do

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