You may not remember Dick the Butcher. He was a rather forgettable character in William Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, Part II. The chances are good, however, that you remember Dick’s famous line: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
Henry VI addresses the personal jealousies that tore England’s political system apart and led to its loss of territories to the French. Dick, a follower of the anarchist character Jack Cade, believes that lawyers played an active role in keeping the common people down.
So what would Dick say today if Shakespeare wrote about the poor performance and caustic environment that plagues many organizations and keeps workers from being productive?
That play would undoubtedly produce a line that goes something like this: “The first thing we do, let’s fire all the bad managers and supervisors.”
Your organization is only as good as the talent, productivity, and engagement of your people. And, their success is directly related to the quality of those leading your teams, departments and divisions.
Bad managers and supervisors are easy to spot if you observe and listen. An easy place to begin your discovery is with those who do any or all of the following:
Do This Now
If you are the bad manager or supervisor described above, stop it. You are killing your team’s effectiveness. Get the training or coaching you need to improve. If that doesn’t help, consider another job.
If you have marginal managers and supervisors reporting to you, let them know that they have one last opportunity to improve. Then secure the development, coaching and support they need. Most important, hold them accountable for the new performance and behavior you expect.
Your long-term, truly bad managers and supervisors need to go. At best, they are unlikely to become anything more than marginal performers even with intentional development. At worst, they will morph into undercover leeches on productivity, morale, and results.
Firing your bad managers has another important impact: it sends a clear compelling message to everyone that you value the environment in which people work as well as the importance of being a great performer.
Your organization’s people and results will improve when the quality of your managers and supervisors improves. Follow the advice that Shakespeare would give if he wrote about business today. Fire all of the bad managers. Just make sure that you avoid all of their mistakes when you replace them.