Sanctioned Incompetence

Sanctioned Incompetence – Meaning leaders who turn a blind eye to ineffectiveness, bad attitudes, and all around poor performance from those they have entrusted to lead/work.

Dave Ramsey first brought this issue to the forefront of my mind after hearing him speak. Since then I see it everywhere. Kind of like when you buy a car because you think no one else has it only to realize that the very car you thought was special is in fact quite ordinary. No organization is without its sanctioned incompetence and the reason it exists might vary. For instance some leaders just don’t have the stomach to be straightforward and call people on necessary issues. Other reason might include the primary leader/manager being oblivious to those outside of their immediate circle or it could simply be because the employee is such a “nice guy” (or booty kisser) that the leader intentionally ignores it.

Whatever the reason, I am convinced that leaders end up causing great harm to the effectiveness and morale of their organization but also to the one they are not developing.

The question is, Is the sanctioned incompetence their fault or is it the primary leaders? I say unequivocally that it’s the primary leader. You may have the right person for your organization but maybe you have put them in the wrong spot, or you have the right person but over time they became the wrong person because no one ever developed them. Either way it’s the primary leader’s responsibility.

Of course there are those times when you just have someone who can give a rip and no matter what you try they just don’t fit – but more times than not if an organization is hiring or utilizing the right people then trust that those people can handle some constructive criticism, honest feedback, and the occasional reprimand.

For the church it goes into a completely different realm. Do the realities of business exist? Yes. Does that mean you run your staff or volunteers through the business mindset? I don’t think so…at least not entirely. One of the most important jobs of a leader is the multiplication of themselves. If we’re honest, we want the easiest route (who doesn’t). But many of us out there in Churchland have individuals who want to learn, who want to be challenged, who want to be developed and it seems that more times than not we choose the easy route – namely – finding a new volunteer or employee so you don’t have to deal with the one who might need to be developed.

A guy I know, Rick Mysse, I think said it best – “Any moron can take a B+ or A student and turn them into an A+ student. But how many are willing to take the F or D- Student and take them there?” I think that is the question that those in a leadership position should wrestle through and in the process – I beg – for the sake of your business, customers, organization, guests, and the Kingdom of God – put an end to sanctioned incompetence.

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One thought on “Sanctioned Incompetence

  1. Thank you for this article. Ive dealt with this at my job of 5 years and when the boss chooses to downplay the incompetence of the unit leaders it causes so much unrest and anger that all of the staff suffers. I’m going to continue reading on this topic to see how to become part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem by gossiping to staff who don’t have the power to make any changes.

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