Why managers fail – Part 1

There are a host of reasons. I have studies enough, learned enough and failed enough to have some compelling arguments as to why managers fail…

Over time I’ll explore a few of those. The obvious one is incompetence – but I will ignore that as a reason. Arguably that is the error of the manager’s manager more than anything, but most importantly; I don’t believe that people reading this would fall into that category. And if you are incompetent – at managing only of course -

The number one reason – without any doubt in my mind is misunderstanding or underestimating the nature of POWER.

  • Do you have power?
  • Do you know who (else) has power?
  • Do you know what you derive it from?
  • Do you know why you have it?
  • Do you know how to use it?
  • Do you know when to use it?
  • Do you know how it is used against you?
  • Are you super aware of how it ebbs and flows on a daily basis, from meeting to meeting, from person to person?
  • Are you using power ‘premeditatively’ in every situation?
  • Do you know how to share it?
  • Do you know how to increase it?
  • Are you hungry for it? Hungry enough to hurt someone else?

If you answer in the negative on any of these, that alone would be cause for failure. I know; I have been there. Power – and not the type that is conferred upon you because of a title or a job – is the single most important commodity that exists in an organisation. If you don’t believe it and if you don’t act accordingly, you will also fail. If you only have a vague understanding and if you are vaguely aware that some people are doing it but you believe that you would notice if and when it is used against you, you have already failed; because it IS being used against you every day in every possible way.

  • If you could not be bothered or think yourself above (power) politics – you have already failed.
  • If you think I am exaggerating, you probably are failing right now.
  • If you think power corrupts, you will be right, but nevertheless be failing.

The single most effective thing you can do to advance your career is to become a student of POWER and influence – and that is a statement I don’t make lightly.