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I've roughly defined a "Manager in Disguise" as someone who's in a position of authority (leadership position) which gives them the opportunity to help steer an organization and influence others but also has no apparent leadership skills, knows it and yet still refuses to step down for the greater good. I'm often asked, why would the people in leadership positions in any organization allow such incompetence to exist and/or continue? Well, the answer to that question is: The Manager in Disguises boss is also a Manager in Disguise. There's no other explanation. Just because someone is at the top of the organizational chart, doesn't mean they're the right person to occupy the position.

Unlike Managers in Disguise, leaders aren't natural born; they're created by other leaders. We all start out as managers of our own world, we teach ourselves what we can (which is limited) and then one day we show a little potential and someone takes an interest in us which leads to other opportunities. Most people welcome a promotion to a leadership position because that's viewed as a step up on the ladder of financial success. I've got news for you, without a true leader teaching you how to lead and you listening, you'll find the ladder you're on leads to dysfunction without success. Without actual leadership training, everyone will notice that you have been promoted to your level of incompetence. The question is; what are you going to do about it? If you choose to seek out formal leadership advice and training over just continuing on with what you taught yourself, you just might find real success.

The perceptions that are attached to a leadership position like more money, influence and real power are only realized by "those who make the most of the opportunity." The potential we possess is directly tied to our passion for a given position and/or situation. The potential we display for one position might not be enough for another and when left unchecked or more importantly, noticed and unchecked, Managers in Disguise are born.

A shortage of leaders is more often than not due to a shortage of leadership. A true leader will promote and train someone with the potential for a given position and then monitor that person through perception and performance feedback from the teams. Unlike a Manager in Disguise, a leader will not allow an unsuccessful promotion to continue because it's not healthy for the one who was promoted, the team, the organization or the customers.

Managers in Disguise can be found in most organization at every level which is a direct reflection of the individual or team of individuals who are the ultimate decision makers. When the quality of the onboarding and offboarding process is not a priority, Managers in Disguise appear to multiply, the culture deteriorates from the inside out, good employees leave, you're left with an uninspired and unproductive workforce which all leads to a downward spiraling customer base.

As Dave Ramsey would say "thoroughbreds don't like working with donkeys and donkeys don't like working with thoroughbreds." The hiring managers must demonstrate their commitment to hiring the best and letting go of the worst.

If you believe this leadership content to be relevant to today's workforce, please share it to your networks. Dissemination of leadership material to those who need it the most is our challenge. The Managers in Disguise, obviously aren't being exposed to it formally or informally so it's up to us to get it to them by way of their employees in any manner we can.

Thank you for your interest,

Robert E. Wood

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