What to expect when top boss is incompetent?

It is small wonder what happens when a politically-backed chief executive officer of a government construction company gets rewarded for his political affiliation by getting appointed as the top executive in a multinational company (MNC) of a technical and digital nature. 

Coming from a completely different background, he grossly lacks the essential skills and competency required for the business, not to mention the unique culture of the organisation. To make matters worse, he replaced a veteran who earned respect with a decade of hard work, not only in his own country but also in the region and the globe as well.

As for the employees, it is like a nightmare unfolding because most of them are trained professionals with MNC backgrounds and expertise, and also habituated to working with a visionary, strategic and people-centric leader for a decade. So, it leaves one to wonder how on earth a leader who has pitiable knowledge and expertise made the head of a relatively technical multibillion-dollar business.

No matter how odd it sounds, unfortunately, it is very common in developing and emerging economies with a record of political corruption and exploitation.

Now, the question is: What do you do when you find yourself working under an incompetent boss?

Your common sense and professional training tell you to adjust with the boss's style and not the other way around. But it is easier said than done, for the magnitude of the consequences not only falls on the individual employees but is bound to impact also the business in due course of time.

If it is seen from the perspective of the newly appointed CEO, he feels comfortable focusing on the areas in which he is good at or comfortable with. The probable areas he may be comfortable with would-be human resource, governance, administration, back-office operations etc. – in other words, anything but not the core of the business.

It turns out that often such a leader acts authoritarian, ego-centric and positional. They create fear and use threats as a means to get their way with junior leaders. As a result, the company soon finds itself in a culture of domination, threat, fear and enslavement, a community of yes-man following a leader blindfolded.

In such a situation, the seasoned MNC employees may feel very vulnerable and at complete odds for some time before they succumb to the circumstances to survive.

Signs of bad leadership may result in: (i) No respect for the rules and cultural practices of the company, as they blatantly disregard or manipulate it to serve their own purpose; (ii) Misuse of governance and recruitment process by appointing similar incompetent leaders/blind followers in key positions and aligning them with the existing group of weak leaders/blind followers in the organisation; and (iii) The boss's ego becomes paramount, almost to the extent that anything that opposes it is kicked out of the way. The situation can be as ludicrous as a seasoned executive being replaced on a wrong pretext by a sexual offender.

When the incompetent boss is at the helm supported by his yes-man group, it not only impacts the employee's morale but more importantly it can cause the company's bottom line to plunge.

Bad leadership leads to high talent attrition and demotivates the remaining employees, making them much less productive than they would otherwise be as they become more cautious and slower to act.

As per studies of Harvard Business Studies, 67 per cent of leaders fail during or after their first term and only 33 per cent survive and sustain over a longer period. The incompetent boss most likely falls in the first group. At some point in time, nature takes its owns course, such incompetent leaders are removed, some prematurely and others unceremoniously, but in all likelihood, they leave the company in utter cultural and financial chaos.

It is my strong belief that the damage caused by such authoritarian incompetent leaders can take place in a considerably short time, say a year, but the recovery may take years and beyond.

Now that brings us to who is responsible for such a situation in the first place! Is it the unwisely appointed leader, the leaders of the past who fashioned the true culture of MNC, the team which failed to adjust to the new situation, or the board of the MNC who appointed the incompetent CEO? Like all of you, I think the same way – it is the board of a company or government-influence on the board, that is at the crux of it all.

The author is a telecom and management expert.


২ ঘণ্টা আগে|বাংলাদেশ

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