This is probably one of the biggest issues affecting not just business today, but anywhere a structure of management exists.
Evasion: the act of avoiding something you don't want to do, or deal with.
In my experience it is most prevalent when it comes to poor performance. Many managers, including very senior ones, cover both poor behaviour and the performance of certain individuals within their teams by simply evading or burying things.
Why is this the case? Below are a few of the most common reasons:
- It could be that long service is a factor. The relationship goes back a long way to a time when the organisation was small. It has outgrown an individual to the point that they struggle with the modern day structure, yet loyalty of years makes the senior manager reluctant to deal with the person who no longer appears to fit.
- Maybe it's an external reason such as a sports connection or family tie perhaps. Sometimes leniency is granted because of personal circumstances, allowing poor performance to continue rather than upsetting an individual
- Or, it could be that the manager is simply not able to confront a behavioural or performance matter.
- Many managers are put in place because of a technical skill, a successful project, or because of who they know. The problem with this is they struggle when it comes to 'managing' the biggest asset, the people.
Management evasion costs money. Although it can be difficult to measure specifically, I have seen performance increase significantly when addressed. Apart from the performance and impact of the individual(s) in question, it is one of the most talked about subjects in the organisations I've been involved with.
It's therefore worth considering some investment towards addressing this problem such as specialist people skills training and mentoring. This would go some way to changing the status quo.