Bosses matter because they generate better results. That’s what the authors of “The Value of Bosses” found in their research. A variety of accepted econometric/statistical techniques showed that the most significant impact bosses have doesn’t come from their motivational skills; it comes from teaching workers how to be more productive, i.e., capability building. We already knew that value creation comes from how well organizations manage their best people, not from better managing mediocrity. We need to learn anew that mean, median, and modal performers are unlikely to be key sources — or resources — for significant returns on organizational investment.
Average Performers Over Time
We also now realize that average performers — bosses or workers — become relatively less valuable over time. Mediocre people make unexceptional investments, making “average” the enemy. You won’t find all the A players in the C-suite, however. Some clean offices; some type; others mow lawns. The position doesn’t create the excellence; the performance does.
As companies struggle to emerge from the effects of the pandemic, there’s never been a worse time to be a mediocre, average, or typical employee. For most firms today, run-of-the-mill is a cost to be managed and a burden to be borne, not a potential to cultivate or a resource worthy of serious investment. However, scores of people seem determined to laud the merits of the average worker and the value of B, C, and D players.
A Different Perspective
Have you ever heard anyone say, “I have first-row tickets to a Broadway show tonight. I hope they fill the stage with understudies”? Or, “I’m going to the World Series game tonight. Wouldn’t it be great if they let the B Team take the field, even if that means losing the Series?”
Most people don’t see themselves on a concert stage or professional field of play, but they realize they will have to compete for jobs, so they want a more level playing field. Instead of striving to improve their performance, they spend time commenting about the unfairness of singling out superior contributions.Companies that will recover quickly from the current economic downturn will simply have to do better. Click To Tweet
The current mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio is no exception. The headlines this week indicated New York City parents called de Blasio’s plans to ax the public-school systems Gifted and Talented program “extremely disappointing” and “abominable.” Instead of concentrating on how to improve student performance in all the public schools, he wants to dismantle a program started by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that offers accelerated classes and specialized advanced curriculum for students who qualify, even though it presents huge benefits for children whose parents can’t afford expensive private schools.
Companies that will recover quickly from the current economic downturn will simply have to do better. They need to offer the corporate equivalent to gifted and talented programs and develop their managers to develop their benches. That means bosses would be held accountable for the performance of their direct reports and for getting their people promoted.