There’s a scientific reason your company rewards incompetent bosses

2020-04-07

Most people have at some point worked for a bad boss. In fact, when it comes to the performance of managers and leaders, the norm is incompetence rather than competence. This is why so many people are disengaged, looking for other jobs, and ditching traditional employment to work for themselves instead.

Naturally, many businesses struggle to accept this. After all, they are in charge of selecting effective bosses, and admitting that their leadership choices are self-destructive is perhaps a step too far.

And yet, only 20% of boards of directors see their leadership identification and development practices as effective, and 70% of employees report that the worst part of their job is their direct line manager. Just google "my boss is..." to see what most people think of their managers, and autocomplete comes up with words like crazy, abusive, toxic and unbearable.

Since it is safe to assume that businesses are interested in getting results, and high-quality leaders are the biggest single driver of results, why is there is so much tolerance for incompetent leaders. What stops businesses from simply replacing them with more talented people who will enable their teams to go from boredom, burnout and alienation to inspiration, pride and productivity?

Three things.

The first is a general inability - or unwillingness - to actually measure the performance of their leaders.

Unlike in professional team sports where leaders are carefully scrutinized based on how their teams perform (and the rules of the game are well-defined), businesses tend to lack robust metrics to compare the performance of their leaders and evaluate how they impact their teams, business units or the organization as a whole. READ MORE