Dealing with Management Capability: a quick diagnostic

Many managers of managers don’t know where to start or try to do too much all at once. Here’s a quick way of assessing how to help one of your manager’s up her or his game. The signs that performance improvement is needed include:

  • Consistent failure to achieve goals;
  • Cost overruns;
  • Staff absenteeism and turnover;
  • Conflict with other departments or managers;
  • Unacceptable feedback from customers whether external or internal.

Management capability lies at the heart of effective organisations.  If you have a manager whose capability is in question how do you zero in on the key issues quickly and without fuss?

Focus on the four main management functions: planning, organising, leading and controlling.

Planning: Is she looking ahead to see what is coming over the horizon?  Is he identifying the things that are going to drive change in his area?  Is she caught out by events?  Does he have a flexible plan in place to drive performance forward in his area of responsibility?

Organising: Is she securing the resources that are required to support her plans?  Are his plans backed by realistic assessments of what is required to get the job done.

Leading: Are his people being inspired by what needs doing?  Is effort and enthusiasm going into her interations with staff?  Is a vision of the future being presented positively?  Are staff engaged?

Controlling: Is data being collected to measure results?  Is feedback being given to staff on their performances?  Does he or she know where they are in terms of progress towards key goals?

Focus on one issue at a time. Which one is causing most difficulties? Your aim should be to build up momentum for improvement. Avoid tackling everything at one time. 

First published June 2012. Edited 13 September 2022.

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