|“If you manage a conscious incompetent manager (CI) let them know that you know they are incompetent and you will have taken the first steps in getting them out. If you work for a conscious incompetent (CI) Boss, letting them know that you know they are incompetent and unfortunately you are on your way out.”|
I have worked with many managers at many levels and in many industries, and I can easily group the managers I have worked with into the following four distinct categories – Unconscious Competence (UC), Conscious Competence (CC) Unconscious Incompetence (UI) and the most serious of all, Conscious Incompetence (CI)
Unconscious Competence (UC)
This is the manager who is competent in what they do but they do a good job unconsciously rather than consciously. The problem with this is, they cannot transfer their skills to others and it does inhibit their self development. Although not ‘hands on’ developers of people, they do influence others by being good role models.
Conscious Competence (CC)
In the organisations I have worked within, I have met very few truly consciously competent (CC) managers. These managers have normally been well developed as ‘managers’ and continue to develop their skills when necessary (self-developers). Consciously competent managers make great developers of others because of their transferable skills, and have often honed these skills in the deliberate development of others.
Unconscious Incompetence (UI)
These managers genuinely believe that they are competent in the job even when things are falling down around them. Many managers who work in growth industries genuinely think that the results are purely down to their superior management skills. They will not accept that results can be achieved despite the manager rather than because of the manager. Telling these managers that they could perform better will fall on deaf ears and often increase their arrogance.
Conscious Incompetence (CI)
These are managers who are not competent in the job they do and they know it! Many managers have been promoted above their competence levels and because they are aware of this, they will go to great lengths to protect their incompetence from being exposed. CI Managers are very damaging to business because they focus more on protecting themselves rather than focusing on getting the job done. This not only damages business development but also negatively influences the performance and development of everybody who comes into contact with them. CI managers do have some very common traits which influences what they do within the workplace:
With regards to managing their Teams, CI managers:
- Do not make decisions that will expose their incompetence to team members.
- Do not allow team members to make decisions that may make waves.
- B******t: do not tell the truth when giving feedback.
- Do not encourage innovation or creativity; often any good ideas are re-generated at a later date as their own.
- Do not appoint good people who may outshine them.
- Get rid of good people who have seen through their incompetence.
With regards to managing their Jobs, CI Managers:
- Just maintain the status quo aiming for mediocre and let others take the limelight.
- Talk the walk, rather than walk the talk.
- Do the bare minimum job requirement.
With regards to managing their Bosses, CI Managers:
- Take credit for others achievements.
- Blame others when thing go wrong.
- B******t: do not tell the truth when giving feedback and updates.
- Pretend to do the job – they are experts in making the right calls, sending out the right memos and saying the right things.
- Play politics – they are very skilled in directing the Boss’s attention away from themselves and onto others.
- Disparage and undermine peers who are more competent than themselves. Competent performing peers will expose their incompetence if allowed to do so.
With regards to managing their Careers, CI Managers:
- Network – constantly networking with people who can; protect them, enhance their reputation and/or career prospects.
- Manoeuvre themselves to a position where the organisation has no choice other than to promote them.
- Volunteer for safe (but prestigious) projects that will enhance their career prospects.
- Feather their nests in every way possible.
- Constantly work on making it costly for organisations to get rid of them – notice-periods, bonuses etc.
Surprised that so many CI managers leave organisations with big payouts and walk straight into lucrative jobs? That is because they have been planning their exit from the day they started the job.
So if you have a CI manager working for you, do not let them:
- Take credit for others achievements
- Blame others when things go wrong
- B******t you
- Play politics – bad mouthing colleagues and peers to divert attention away from themselves.
- Recruit people on their own – they will only recruit in their own image.
Letting them know that you know that they are incompetent, and you will have taken the first steps in getting them out; but if you work for a conscious incompetent Boss, letting them know that you know that they are incompetent and unfortunately you are on your way out.