Ineffective managers rise to their level of
incompetence because they ultimately gain responsibility over a level of the
organization that they can no longer handle alone. The more intelligent and skilled they are, the higher they
will go in the organization before this happens.
This is the reason that so many CEO’s are both highly intelligent and
yet unbelievably ineffective as managers
Effective Leaders never rise to their
level of incompetence. Why not?
Because they are not depending on their own persistence, skills and
knowledge, but rather on the commitment, loyalty, persistence, skills and
knowledge of their team. As they move up in the organization, they continue to
surround themselves with the people they need to succeed, to get done what
needs getting done.
Most of us are aware of two “rules” of
business that are almost universally accepted: 1) The Peter Principle – In
organizations, people tend to rise to their level of incompetence, and 2)
Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
What is not known is that these rules apply only to unenlightened
companies (organizations, government bodies, etc.)
and ineffective managers.
consider Murphy’s Law.
Again, it is the ineffective manager who is creating the environment
where anything and everything that can go wrong—will.
Effective Leaders, however, seldom are bothered by things going wrong.
When they do, they just fix them…anyway they can.
Most of the time, they are creating the environment where Fregger’s
Principle kicks in, “Very often, anything that can go right—will.”
After reading my speech on this subject (on-line
my brother, Dennis Fregger, who has just retired from the fire service, was
fascinated by the realization that over the years he had worked under both
effective leaders and ineffective managers. "The real
surprise for me," Dennis told me, "was that I hadn’t recognized
the effective leaders I had worked with.
I had one boss in particular who was an extremely effective leader.
This was very obvious on the fire ground where he would instantly hold you
accountable for your statements by asking probing questions to your off-hand
learned very quickly to own your statements in a mature, responsible manner
and that made you better at what you did. The part that was "unseen"
was the day to day nuts and bolts of administering to his personnel, which
included insulating us from the Administration's ineffective management."
a known fact that bosses, supervisors, administrators, etc. are the major
cause of stress in the workplace. He insulated us from that. When
I did have a problem, I'd talk to him and in a short time, I'd see the
solution and that would be that. Everything
went so smoothly when he was my supervisor..
It was easy, like breathing. I
didn’t recognize the power of this style of leadership until I read your
brother identified a major part of the problem: Effective leadership is hard
to recognize because it seems to natural. As my brother said, "...like
A personal experience illustrates this beautifully:
I was attending a workshop on how to read out-loud from the Bible
effectively. We were given a
Bible verse to prepare, with our final being the reading of that verse.
I knew the instructor, and he knew my abilities as a reader…he gave
me the most difficult Bible verse that he could find, and then smiled a
knowing smile as he handed the assignment to me. It
took me all day and night to figure out how to read those verses in a way that
would both inspire and clearly reflect what the author was trying to convey.
At the end of the workshop I was talking with one of the other
attendees and he said, “It wasn’t fair, I had such a difficult reading.
If only he had given me yours…it was so much easier.”
This, of course, was the ultimate compliment…that a very difficult
reading came off so easy and natural.
and Persistence Wins Out
Effective Leaders work like this. They are as easy
and natural or as hard as they need to be.
They come in extra when they have to, but don’t spend “after hours”
time in the office just to make an impression.
Because it seems easy for
effective leaders, management assumes that their job is easier,
or that they are lucky to have such a great team.
The fact that it was the Effective Leadership style of management that
developed the “great team” and made the job seem so easy, never enters the
mind of the executive. In this way the Effective Leader’s accomplishments are
often “invisible” to the more senior executives in the organization, while
his “commitment” may even be
Ineffective managers are extremely visible because they
are working so hard at getting things done. They often staying till late at night
and/or getting in so early in the morning.
They are not necessarily trying to make an impression…they have to
spend more time in the office, because it takes them longer to get less done.
Management observes this ":working harder" behavior and
perceives it as commitment and loyalty to the organization.
Ineffective managers also exhibit tons of persistence and the ability to accomplish things “in
spite of the incompetence that surrounds them.”
These characteristics are seen as highly desirable, especially by those
executives who are also ineffective managers and therefore understand what it
takes to succeed under conditions where they can only depend on their own hard work and
So how does it happen that in unenlightened companies
effective leaders don’t get promoted and ineffective managers do?
After all, they are both getting the job done.
Here is a common scenario to exactly how and why it
Jim is an Effective Leader, his team runs smoothly, the
job always gets done with very little fanfare and not much observable effort.
Additionally, Jim insists that his key people attend important meetings
with him, and when specific questions are asked, he defers to the appropriate
expert on his team.