Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Double-Standard for Senior Management

In a time when everyday workers are losing their jobs, due in part to the reckless actions US financial institutions made in recent years, I was abhorred to read senior managers at these companies are once again receiving huge bonuses despite the economic conditions and anemic performance of their organizations.

While I tell participants in my project management workshops to be effective they need to be responsible for their actions, when is senior management at companies going to stop rationalizing poor behavior including self-serving politics, taking credit for group efforts, creating fuzzy strategic initiatives and blaming workers for poor performance?

It is time for senior managers everywhere to start acting responsibly instead of mimicking the trait. Senior leadership has long claimed they deserve huge salaries and bonuses because of the value they provide their companies. Well, if companies are not demonstrating growth, profit, and "maximizing stakeholder value" as we say in finance, then senior leaders should fire themselves or voluntarily forgo bonuses and salaries before taking drastic actions such as firing workers..

It is tough to see workers losing jobs, especially when management fails to accept accountability and responsibility for company performance. For some of those workers, loss of income is more than losing their membership at a country club or having to sell a yacht. These workers are deciding if they'll have a home, get medical attention, or how they can even provide basic needs for their families.

I am very much in favor of a free enterprise system. Yet it only works when everyone takes accountability and responsibility for their contribution to organizations and it starts at the top!