Archive for October, 2010

Managing Risk – bullying or strong leadership?

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

super-bully

Attending a Cardinus/IISRM conference to hear Lord Young talk about his proposal to reduce unnecessary Health and Safety bureaucracy was thought provoking. Describing his area of concern as only ‘low hazard’ environments, Lord Young included workplaces as low risk. This is of particular interest to us as there are greater personal risks at work than ‘slips and trips’, especially the fairly common confusion of bullying with ‘strong leadership’. In difficult business conditions where the pressure for performance is strong, this tendency is enhanced.

Some people are deliberate and systematic bullies – Sir Fred Goodwin’s management style was often described in this way. High IQ managers are normally less deliberate in their intentions, but without the EQ competence of how to address difficult team performance issues, the impact is just as dire. As we know, bullies are often emotionally weak, with poor interpersonal skills: bullies do what is easiest for them and what they are allowed to get away with. Legislation has now defined as ‘harassment and bullying’ behaviour that some managers have traditionally viewed as a ‘strong’ management style. It’s probably then, time to help those of your team who are in danger of overstepping the mark. One of the best ways of doing this is by having a culture that supports competence and allows whistle blowing.

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively. Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

www.cardinus.co.uk

So, why use people?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Robo Manager cheaper to run, 24/7 and no EQ problems

Robo Manager cheaper to run, 24/7 and no EQ problems

The news that Wells Fargo management used ‘robo’ signers to approve mortgage foreclosures caught our eye*. Also in the frame for similar practices are JP Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage (Ally Bank). The Wells Fargo VP of Loan Documentation giving evidence in a Florida lawsuit said she only checked if her name and title were correct on the documents. She also signed affadavits stating she had “personal knowledge of the facts regarding the sums of money which are due and owing to Wells Fargo”. These were used in foreclosure proceedings.

This information raises intriguing questions, not least what is the purpose of managers in such institutions? Does the process manage the manager, or does the manager add some value by managing? And even if the (automated?) process worked as designed (aka those affavdavits), then the fact that the lawyers are able to leverage it, shows a management failure with added cost to the organisation. Was the organisational effort to deal with the historically challenging volume of foreclosures such that sight was lost of treating customers (and thus the market) with proper respect? Where were the supervisory and audit functions in the organisations?

What we find most confusing of all is that, if all that was required from management was a signature, why didn’t they use an automatic signature machine? After all why pay people, and put up with all that unpredictability and emotion?

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively. Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

* See www.ft.com 14/10/10

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