Monday, March 10, 2008

Crack Managers

One of the constant in a modern corporation is Crisis. This true for all industries and company size; be it a small start-up or a large multinational corporation. I have often pondered how much of these crisis are real crisis that are created by truly unforeseeable situations or are they “man made” crisis that was created by willful neglect or even a natural result of the manager’s management and leadership style.

I have often observed a curious connection between managers who possesses a strong personality with a “hands-on” attitude, and the number of so called crisis that his or her team encounters every day. What’s more interesting is the fact that overwhelming majority of these crisis somehow cannot be solved unless the said manager is actively involved, in effect being the “savior”.

A recent event a friend recounted to me made me think about my many personal experiences in dealing with managers/executive who excel at crisis. After asking a few probing questions about her executive’s behavior and managing style, I have drawn two interesting conclusions about the nature of managers and the crisis who loves them.
“Managers who cannot successfully delegate authority and empower their staff are more prone to experiencing crisis.”

And more interestingly,
“Crisis management/resolution can be just as addictive as crack.”

“Whoa!” You say, “What the hell are you actually trying to say here? That these people purposefully create crisis??”

What I am telling you is this simple point of fact. Managers who excels at dealing with crisis can become addicted to the emotional high associated with both the successful resolution of the crisis as well as the praises and admiration that often comes with such successes. The combined emotional high from the “Job well done!” and associated with admiration becomes what I am calling the “Crisis Crack”. In short my point is, your prized crack team of managers could actually be managers who are addicted to the crisis crack!

The irony of this situation is that, the managers who seems to always be in the “thick of it”, solving/dealing with crisis are often the “Stars” of the organization. They are the ones getting the recognitions, the awards and the ones who “Gets the job done!”. But are those crisis really crisis? Are they really solving real crisis, or are they just putting on a show for everyone to see? And in all honesty, is a crisis prone organization the kind of organization that any executive want to be proud of? Bottom line, the question any executive must ask him and herself is,
“Do I really want an organization that feeds off the highs of crisis, or do I want a smooth well run organization that anticipates and resolves things before they become a crisis?”

If the answer is a smooth running organization, perhaps it’s time to take a hard look at yourself and your “Crack Managers” and decide who are the true heros, and who are just managers that are addicted to the “Crisis Crack”.

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