Jun 01 2012

The Danger of the Silent Crisis in Management

It’s time to fix the way we view and execute management in business, says Gartner analyst.

Disruption in business can be painful, but usually it turns out to be the tough medicine needed to move the market forward. In that case, managers in every company should get ready soon for a heavy dose of stomach-turning cod liver oil.

In a recent post on the Gartner blog, Mark P. McDonald, a Gartner analyst and group vice president, outlined what he viewed as a festering problem that most companies are oblivious to: the dilution of a manager’s effectiveness in grooming talent.

McDonald points out that in the past, managers used to be measured by the quality and performance of the people who worked for them. Today, managers are measured more by the quality of their reports or other product-specific statistics.

Which means managers are spending more time trying to meet their personal targets than helping their team members reach theirs.

Reimagining management is almost impossible in this situation, as new definitions are either dismissed as just another view.

Addressing the crisis in management requires adhering to a clear, comprehensive and actionable definition. Simply put, if we are to address the problem, we need to define the terms of the problem. Gary Hamel’s definition of management, shown below, reflects the breadth, depth and diversity of management in a clear and unambiguous set of terms.

“Management is the discipline of human accomplishment.”

Human accomplishment is a broad term, but then again, so is management. It entails everything we do as individuals and teams. It’s time to appreciate and recognize good management, separate it from administration and position it in a context that reflects the realities we all face.

It's time to stop the artificial, value-laden, pejorative descriptions of managers and recognize the real complexity of the world we face and the need for diverse workforce, skillsets, roles and abilities to handle this.

Do you agree with McDonald’s view? Is management as a discipline long overdue for a complete overhaul?