I have been to 8 different companies recently where I have seen individuals who started a position between 6 and 10 months ago, become either a shadow of their former self, or they have become so confident that they are a hindrance to the businesses. All of these individuals when they were initially recruited, were exactly what the company or the Managing Director thought they wanted. I suppose the key word being ‘thought’!

work-environmentWhat we envisage for the success of our business in terms of the ‘right’ recruit isn’t always what you are able to deal with every day. Let’s take 2 of these companies who both took on individuals who were supposed to be the right hand to the Managing Director, to question him, to lead the business, to be accountable for the teams in the form of a General Manager. They started in the environment, feisty yet courteous, exactly what was seen at the interview, exactly the reason they were take on. However, now looking at both of these individuals within their respective companies, they don’t bother making suggestions any more, they don’t bother arguing with the Managing Director as they know that these Managing Directors still want to do their own thing. These General Managers are now overruled and the Managing Director is criticising their ideas and more importantly really questioning their overall competency level. Individuals in general do not reduce in competency when they are in a role, however if they are not motivated, respected and managed to the expectation or commitment they gave, then there will be a perception of a lower competency level however untrue. These General Managers have lost confidence and I am in no doubt it will not take them long to start thinking about job hunting again, you can see how they have just given up and yet that passion 8 months before was unmistakeable in its drive for success.

There is then the other extreme where you have confidence which grows and grows to a point of arrogance, where an individual thinks they are more competent or more valuable than the reality of their position. There are 4 other examples I have are strong sales people, who were taken on to turn around the sales of 4 companies. Here we find that there isn’t necessarily the strength in the company to manage these kind of individuals from the Managing Director level. The description we then hear is how ‘difficult’ the individual has become, how they don’t listen, how they do things ‘their’ way. Again as an outsider you can appreciate this confidence is required in the job, but if it is left unchecked it can run riot and affect so many in the company again where competency is questioned.

The confidence loss in the first kind of example is just so disappointing to see, as you can appreciate with empowerment these individuals could be the true long term growth of a company.

So many of us become a product of our environment and sometimes it just takes over and we don’t realise we are no longer delivering to what we truly believed, either because it is no longer required or the reality of the delivery is not enjoyed by the individual managing us. Managers & Directors do not always appreciate the responsibility they have to ensure they manage individuals to deliver against the expectation for which they were recruited and to hold them accountable when they are not coming up to standard. Individuals will strive to exceed your expectation if it is clear and if they have their own belief that they can do so and we have a responsibility to ensure that we are encouraging and empowering them to be what they can for our organisations to succeed. After all we believed it when we took them on! Whose fault is the lack of success? The individual? In the majority of cases I think not! And in all of the examples above Definitely Not!!!

Hire the right person for the role but understand what “management support” is required to ensure that individual is managed to deliver against the expectation.

*Photo credit to Bonus.ly