The image above shares noticeable signs the person may not be a good fit for the role. That does not mean the person (or manager) is incompetent. It may mean that the system that surrounds the person is broken enough to cause negative behaviors.
What is observed by the CEO looking at the manager who is having a tough time with the work are indicators that a problem may exist. This means that the CEO will benefit from investigating:
- Is the role (level or work) defined so that the boundaries are clear, known and shared?
- Is the observation happening under a particularly stressful, challenging or abnormal time in the work?
- Is their direct manager ‘big enough’ for the role?
- Do others notice changes and see that this is affecting the work?
- How did the person get into this role?
- How are cross-functional-team responsibilities defined so that this person can do their work without having to default to manipulation and politics?
- Are the staff, who are asking for a transfer or leaving people that are necessary to the team?
- What organizational support does this person have?
- Have you made them aware that the work they are completing is unsatisfactory?
- Have you made them aware of what satisfactory work looks like? Have you done that, do you know, are you sure?
What I’m getting at is that while a person may struggle in a position, it may be useful to understand how is the system attracting or repelling trust from the manager. They may have the competency to do the work, yet they are constrained by an inadequate organization design that kills any creativity or ability to do their best work.
You may be the person who is unable to handle the complexity of your role. Pointing up or down the hierarchy is easy. It is challenging to see the mess you created within your team.