Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting By

Many managers and supervisors don't study management. This neglect does not stem any disdain for knowledge. It arises from a level of comfort. They often don't realize how much better they could be at their job.

Their organization judges them "good enough" (and even "outstanding") and they heartily agree, sometimes falling back on the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" maxim. After all, they have plenty to do as it is. Why add management classes and books to their schedule?

They are getting by without realizing they are getting by. Their situation resembles that of a C student who is given an inflated grade and eventually mistakes C work for that of a B or an A. All will be well until the day that a higher level of performance is indeed required either in daily work or to gain a promotion and they run into a serious competitor whose scores were high and uninflated.

Most of us have, at one time or another, slipped into the "getting by" mode.

If we are fortunate, we know when we are doing so. If we do not know, some day we may be in for a big surprise. In today's ultra-competitive world, the individual is unwise to rely upon the employer's willingness to provide the training that is needed for the development of management skills. You are - you can groan now - your own brand and you don't want the product of You to be at the back of the pack.


Eclecticity said...


Many managers were "C Students" I have speculated. Shall we institute a "Bring Your Transcripts to Work Day?"


Tanmay Vora said...

Excellent - sometimes, day to day routine pushes us into a "getting-by" mode. It helps to take a 35,000 Ft. view of your management career and see what needs improvement.

As you very rightly put it, most managers don't know how good they can be. They never realize their potential because they just don't introspect/invest in their growth.

Fantastic, outstanding, brilliant post! :)

Michael Wade said...


The C students, an old line goes, run the world. The trick is to know you're a C student and to make sure you gain a whole lot of common sense.

Michael Wade said...


Thank you! One of the greatest things in the workplace is when a manager begins to realize that potential.

John said...

My compliments as well.
I forgot the source but it reminds me of the conscious/unconscious -- competence/incompetence quadrangle. Those "good enough" folks think they are in the "conscious competence" corner when they are less competent than they imagine. Sadly that should move them into the opposite (unconsciously incompetent) corner.

Perhaps marginally related reading in the Atlantic...
The Science of Success
Somewhat dense but very stimulating once you get it digested. it's about child development but I think it has vast implications for both management and politics.