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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are Your Managers Territorial?

When Organizations fail to meet objectives or take forever to effect needed changes, one need not look too far down  to identify the reason for the hindrance.  It is often caused by poor management and poor leadership culture.

Here are some signs that your managers suffer from Turfing Syndrome and later let me share with you what I think should be done.

When managers go to management committee meetings as representatives of their departments rather than members of the management team, they tend to tune in only when the issue involves their department. They would vehemently reject anything  that would cause their unit to make some sacrifices even if it is for the sake of the organization.  They would also resent any suggestion or recommendation that indicates they're not doing their job well enough.  They see this as an attack to them and their territory. Why is this bad? When this happens, the management team loses its focus on the real goal because the managers are focused on protecting their turfs.

Managers who are territorial lack concern in organizational change initiatives they do not themselves initiate. They see this as a waste of time that they believe they should be spending doing something else.  When I was an employee in charge of organizing company events aimed at building a sense of community and employee engagement, I encountered managers who discourage their staffs from joining because they have "more important things" to do.  I have too many examples of this in so many organizations. When this happens employees get confused about what's important. In the end it causes resentment and disengagement. The desired change do not materialize and investments go to waste. Then you'll hear some managers say "told you it's just a waste of time." When you see a lot of half-finished  change projects, failed automation,  policies that are not taken seriously and unsuccessful company events,  you can blame it on managers who don't take ownership of agreed upon initiatives.

Territorial managers build silos that cause lack of cohesiveness among members of the management team. When there is no cohesiveness, you will see managers criticizing management in front of employees and wash their hands off when they are forced to implement an unpopular management decision.  They widthold information and they  intentionally or unintentionally make it difficult for others to get some help from them.

The worst sign that managers are territorial is that all of the above signs happen unabated without anyone accountable enough to stop it. Territorial managers only focus on protecting their turf and the divisiveness work to their advantage.

If even one of these signs show in your management team, I recommend that you do something about it because situations like this tend to worsen rather than get better if not addressed.

It pays to have a strong and cohesive management team culture because it enables the organization to effect necessary changes in the most efficient manner. Issues gets identified and addressed sooner rather than later.  Cohesive management teams are a sight to behold. People in the organization don't get mixed messages from their managers so they know when instructions come down, they know nothing less than commitment is expected.

I personally believe that building a strong management team is an important prerequisite to building a high performance organization and something worth investing into. If you feel you need help in facilitating this for your management team, call us, maybe we can help.

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