So reads the headline of a recent article posted on the CrimsonBusiness web site (view original article Here).
Here is an excerpt from the article that makes sober reading:
“Busy managers are inefficient because they remain focused on performing tasks and rarely get an overview of what their team is doing,” said Jacobs. “With these kind of people it’s not unusual to see staff sitting around with nothing to do, while their manager is racing around stressed out.
“An effective manager delegates as much as they can to their team, and invests all the time they release into developing that team. Overall it becomes a machine that’s driven to meet goals, with the manager turning into a true leader.”
Jacobs advised managers to be willing to delegate tasks without abdicating responsibility for them, as willing being on hand to review objectives and offer support.
He said it was very important to give clear and specific instructions when delegating and a failure to do so was the most common reason for problems arising.
Wow! What earth shattering news! Is common sense really so scarce in the business world these days that an article like this needs to be written?
If it is then we’re in serious trouble.
I believe that it’s not only those managers who are overly busy that suffer. Research conducted in the 1980’s showed that as a person took on an additional role, their efficiency at both jobs was greatly reduced. There were also arguments for keeping people management and project management roles separated, partly for the efficiency reason but also because the skills required for the two roles are very different. One involves objects and processes; the other involves human beings (who, though it may come as a shock to some, are NOT processes; neither are they objects … resources!). Although people can be stretched, they are not as resilient as many materials and do snap, at which stage repair is a long, difficult and costly business for all concerned.
How many people do we know who are actually good at both jobs? I suspect that the answer is, ‘Very few’. Yet today it is commonplace for people to be split across multiple roles, in multiple divisions and to assume responsibility for people care.
People this does not work!
Not only do we end up with over busy managers, but we also have demoralised staff and I would argue that this is a deadly combination.
Perhaps it’s not just the busyness that is the problem, but the nature and the diversity of that busyness.
The problem is that jumping off this accelerating treadmill is a risk that could prove costly, but until people are prepared to take that risk, we chart a course to increasing inefficiency, stress and confusion and we chart a course to slow (or not so slow) self-destruction.