C-Suite Advisory

Ethical & Qualified Management Only Please

“Imagine this make-believe scenario for a business case study analysis – you bring up an ethics & compliance issue in your team meeting. Nearly everyone witnesses what you brought up. The next thing you know is that your Leadership & your manager corner you and try to coach you for nothing, making fake claims with zero examples or evidence of it ever happening.

Next, you hear that they will look into the ethics & compliance issue. You think it’s going to be investigated and trust your leadership to figure it out. After all, that’s what Leadership core function stands for. You go about your business content. After about a couple of weeks, you are surprised to learn that your role has been eliminated due to a business restructure.

Then you reminiscent the time when just a couple of years ago you called out this same Senior management on really outlier ‘diversity & inclusion issues’ with some folks on their team & it appeared it was resolved back then with people working collaboratively thereafter. Phew – apparently not, because it appears from the facts that you were just retaliated against in the present for it. Was that a coincidence – I don’t think so?

Decision making gets a bad reputation if newly brought on people in Senior Management positions have zero prior experience or are under-qualified in leading the department they get newly ‘planted’ in for. Perhaps it’s based on internal politics, favouritism or if they are truly under-qualified than the staff & the existing management, it’s ultra apparent to all.

Incompetent new management assigned to a department merely based on friendships, networks, favours and poor referrals may threaten staff and existing Management reporting to them or working with them. Plus, friendship based like-minded teams is not high performing teams, regardless, even if it appears that everything is running smoothly on the outset. Here are some of the reasons why poor decision making may prevail as a chronic symptom of reverse competition, in the resulting unproductive and unethical work cultures created by the under-qualified ‘planted’ management in general across organizations:

  1. Poor decision making and unproductive reverse competition two to three levels below may lead to highly qualified candidates lose jobs under fake pretexts provided by the new under qualified management. We’d rather believe the cat down the road.
  2. Staff may be poorly judged by the newer management based on personal biases due to a hidden realization of ‘self lack’ and not realizing the staff’s true value to the team, thus creating a hostile work environment, full of mistrust.
  3. The toxic culture created by the under-qualified newer management may lead to the division of thought, behaviour and actions amongst the team members with some of them making outlier attempts to agree with the newer management, even if they mean to disagree to secure their position on the team or unduly impress them with attempts to sabotage their peers by underhanded means. Understandably, it’s not really the staff’s fault, toxic environment has been newly created for these behaviours to unfold so people can reasonably or unreasonably secure their positions on the team.
  4. The underqualified newer management may feel threatened numerous times and try and sabotage the high performing candidates by negatively influencing people across the organization to view them a certain way, which is unethical and can happen and does happen all the time. It’s just like people around may tell you like it is exactly such, in various organizations with deteriorating or toxic cultures. The theory of probability says that If there is the slightest percentage of chance that this can happen, there is a 100% probability that it will happen and it does happen; with various supporting testimonies in reference to the toxic cultures across the impacted organizations.
  5. You may think that toxic managements are too busy to engage in these behaviours but then why would so many people be complaining and provide a backdrop to our suspicions if it did not exist. There’s a reason why the term “toxic cultures” is being used and talked about after all.
  6. Where we can learn the best about the Management’s performance is to interview the outbound individual with detailed sets of questions for anonymous feedback which is monitored by a third-party decision-making team. Every effort should be made to redeploy talent with the last Management strictly prohibited to interfere in the redeployment of candidates. That’s right, you just said NO to a candidate, you should have ZERO business to stalk their redeployment, let alone sabotage it.
  7. Redeployment should have nothing to do with the current grade of the employee. Employees should have every opportunity to realize their full potential in terms of redeployment and should be considered for higher grade levels if they fit the role. Redeployment should be outsourced so that internal “mismanagement” is not allowed to influence the redeployment of a candidate.
  8. Even the underperforming candidates can be redeployed to the many open roles that they can easily perform, whether for the same grade or 1 lower, upon the monitoring team’s decisions & the candidate’s qualifications. Sometimes it’s not the candidate, it’s the Mis-Management. Having an internal re-deployment team still under the influence of last leadership or management may mean interference and fake efforts to redeploy outbound candidates, via obliteration or sabotage by current management or their negative influence. Of course, not all management will be vile, some will be the most ethical and humane. But still, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest and the integrity of the redeployment program, they should NOT be allowed to engage in the internal or external redeployment process.
  9. It is the highest form of unethical behaviour to let go of solid performers because the newer management in some cases is marking its territory and anyone reporting to older management should become their target, in some cases, with themes of retaliation on the basis of prior working relationship with the candidates. Most candidates that I know of are only trying to do their jobs and meeting unrealistic deadlines set by their mis-managers.
  10. When the under-qualified management does not recognize or acknowledge the values that their staff brings to make impact or marginalize their ideas and efforts to streamline the process, it ultimately leads the staff to hold back any more value-adding and discourages others to follow the track. We are better off just hiring the most qualified newer higher management, preferably holding higher education (MBA for example) or as someone who is not afraid or threatened to let their team shine & be empowered. Someone who empowers their team to be their authentic selves and the best they can be, is a truly charismatic leader, respecting the very principle of the leadership concept. Great leaders empower and don’t feel threatened.
  11. When under-qualified management behaves in a certain way – unethical, aggressive, abrasive, with toxic manners, these trickle down to the mannerisms and behaviour of the staff automatically threatening your organizational culture strategy and putting the firm way behind on the Culture track. It makes people think they can get away with being unethical & uncultured. It’s like after all that many do to uphold organizational values and culture, there’s that newer management who does not use its conscience to uphold it and takes it in the reverse gear, sometimes causing a permanent dent in ethics and the organization’s culture.
  12. New management with zero prior department experience can feel threatened with staff with more qualifications and attempt to downsize the department with nothing but the department losing talent & incurring rehiring, retraining costs. How can you Lead something you got zero clues about and then also mistreat staff & worse, downsize them?! You just came into the supposed leadership role bringing nothing of significance to the department in the first place. Leadership is not a skill. Servant Leadership is a skill.
  13. Underqualified management may sabotage and block access of high performing candidates to getting redeployed with the firm. This will lead to high performing candidates continuing to apply for all positions that exactly match their Rolodex but not getting any positive responses or interviews, or getting rejected for no apparent reason, which further leads to wasted time, effort, resources and sheer exhaustion. Poor solid performers ~ only if you knew about the hidden agenda of your toxic newer management!
  14. Toxic management demoralizes team camaraderie because when they disturb the delicate balance of the team by letting go of a well-liked staff, it de-spirits and discourages the whole team or major part of it and creates trust & loyalty suspicions about the newer toxic management. Well, that we know clearly does not help anyone get inspired or motivated. What a team spirit downer!
  15. The integrity of the work of the solid performers may be at stake with attempts to sabotage their work by the toxic newer management ~ most commonly with a large number of internal clients as the audience of this misrepresentation, including immediate colleagues as witnesses as well. When people try to question this lack of integrity of the toxic management, in certain cases openly in team meetings, the candidates may suffer retaliation and the Toxic Management – instead of problem solving or escalating to the Ethics & Compliance department for further investigation, as the only right thing to do, the high performing candidates are let go. What a shame!
  16. And NO, we have not crossed the Diversity & Inclusion bridge yet. People of colour are still the target of the ‘privileged line management’, regardless of gender. With people of colour already feeling the pressures on many grounds especially after the Pandemic, some firms have let loose their privileged employees in higher ranks without due process. People who just don’t deserve to be there. People who suppress the people of colour, and don’t allow them, “THE ACCESS” to higher ranks even when they clearly deserve it, have more qualifications & experience, more education than themselves. They have created a 6-foot thick glass ceiling for the people of colour because they obviously think that they are above the deserving talent, sort of a supremest. They think that it’s their birthright to hold positions in higher ranks even with ZERO prior experience required for a job or a higher grade. What a shame again!
  17. Boomer thinking alert (there’s no word as Boomer in my dictionary but there’s surely the ‘boomer thinking’) ~ please let your employees feel empowered & shine because they are the true “EXPERTS” executing real work every day when your toxic management is busy gossiping, kissing up, backstabbing & playing politics from one end of the organization to the other ‘BLOCKING’ both – “OPPORTUNITIES & ACCESS” for truly deserving candidates – how deplorable! Management is not real work. It’s just managing, that’s right. The least you can do is ~ do the right thing in your privileged role. It’s a shame when the single task of ‘doing the right thing’ is not your priority or you just don’t care. Show people who execute your real work every day, some respect. Please don’t confuse management for leadership – it’s clearly not.
  18. Promote people who deserve to be promoted, NOT people in close proximity to management. When you do fake promotions, your deserving & loyal staff loses respect for you. Your silly ‘Likability’ factor is for the appearances of productivity thus never making a dent on your non-productivity report. Real managers don’t get silly like that, they are always concerned about the bottom line. Now that’s servant leadership.
  19. Irrevocably, organizations should let go of toxic, undeserving & under-qualified managements and their highly abrasive vile-style; in order to uphold the principles of organizational culture strategy, letting only the qualified management lead & allowing solid ideas of ethical conduct that the firm originally began with to flourish.
  20. Lastly, if your organization’s C-suite has made the strategic decision to, let’s say hypothetically for a generic example, redeploy women that meet 80% qualifications, honour the commitment. Why is it that women candidates meet 95% or more job requirements and yet get rejected for redeployment?! What kind of game playing or dirty politics is that??!! I guess if your mismanagement feels threatened by the qualifications of your candidates, they obviously don’t belong there. Please don’t waste people’s time and DO fire that toxic mismanagement NOW! You’ll be very glad you did! How come your silly management gets planted at zero% prior experience and your employees get rejected at 20 roles with a 95% skills match?! Strange math! Suspicious activity alert!
  21. To the dead fish who witness everything – your compliance “Code of Conduct” policy clearly has you sign off, “If you see something; say something” clause. So don’t be a dead fish. Please feel free to report anonymously. What are you waiting for?!! Don’t be the toxic management’s pet. You are better than that! What would you have wished, if it were you?! That’s right – do the right thing; even though you would not necessarily stand in support of your affected colleagues.
  22. Do NOT try and throw people that perform well in their career trajectory with fake excuses because then your feeling of incompetence & inadequacy is too obvious to the onlookers.

At the end of the day, firms don’t want to lose talent with high performing individuals who are extremely fluid to the work culture with performance-related high-octane work networks, to be let go. Number one, they do not deserve this toxic treatment. Another is that rehiring costs with the added chaos of re-training new hires at the time for specialized roles, resources and expenses to the department outweigh the bad decision-making, also; there is never a benefit of losing a high-performance candidate so nothing to outweigh here.

Only highly qualified candidates or more experienced candidates should be hired especially for newer Senior Management positions. Staff qualifications should be monitored by third-party firms to prevent underqualified internal hires, with only the most qualified & deserving internal/ external hires. In the many business and leadership experiments in various Industries, the most highly productive teams have diverse talents and personalities and not necessarily the most “Yes-saying” team members that groupthink. Bottom line is, only and only the most qualified candidates should be hired.

The solution to a fair hiring game is that firms should outsource their hiring and recruiting decisions to a third party firm so only the most qualified people get hired for the job like they justifiably should and not based on politics, playing games, friendships, kissing up biases, gimmicks and irrelevance. We may say this is the norm and that’s how it works. But why is it that we are okay with toxic corporate cultures? Why aren’t we saying something?! No, we should NOT be okay with toxic thinking, toxic cultures or toxic people. We should not be the outlying party to this, in fact, they should be removed from “OUR” organizational culture and values and ethics.

While the argumentative anti-diversity bench will try and hypnotize you like a snake, saying that hiring diversity for the sake of diversity is not any firm’s priority; hiring diversity for their talent & retaining diversity for their solid performance should be your priority. And let me be the first to tell you that when you lie like that when you play dirty corporate games like that when you stalk that employee’s redeployment to sabotage them like that, especially in these times, everyone at the firm knows your name because no one is as stupid as you assume.

You take away an opportunity from a deserving & a high performing candidate when you give that opportunity unfairly to an undeserving and under-qualified individual due to lack of monitoring of your management’s unethical hiring, toxic cultural and questionable ‘code of conduct’ actions. In return, you also lose high performing, high-calibre, most qualified individuals. That is a lose-lose strategy.

Focus on becoming the win-win strategy by eliminating your vile-style, WILD-WEST, toxic & under-qualified newer management with a total lack of work ethics, lack of conscience, zero prior experience of the department they were ‘planted’ in with the most disrespect for your high-ethics organizational culture! Managers have one job – to make the right decision. If they cannot do it, they don’t have the right to belong there, they should be dismissed!”


Written by Pooja Duggal Batra.

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Pooja Duggal Batra
External Advisory Board Member for the CEOWORLD magazine. The External Advisory Board (EAB) of the CEOWORLD magazine provides advice and counsel to the editorial department regarding industry's and other constituents' needs and trends, and therefore support the department in the achievement of its strategic goals. The EAB includes individuals with national and international prominence, business leaders, and government agencies. You can follow Pooja on Linkedin.