Complacency is Not a Successful Management Style

business (10)“I don’t want to rock the boat”  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” “This is the way we have always done it.”  “It’s not that bad, let’s just wait and see.”  In today’s tentative business climate who hasn’t heard these statements from their managers.  You’ve probably said some of them yourself.

Over the last several years the workplace has been in transition, managers have hunkered down to wait it out or for it to blow over.  Unfortunately, while waiting, many managers have turned reasonable caution into unproductive complacency.  They’ve become complacent about their current jobs and future careers, no longer innovating for their company or themselves.

Complacency is defined (Merriam-Webster) as: 1. self-satisfaction, especially with one’s merits, advantages, or situation, often without awareness of potential or actual dangers or deficiencies 2. A feeling of unaware or uninformed satisfaction with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.  It’s an unsatisfying, self-sabotaging, unproductive and potentially destructive way to think and behave.  Here are 6 ways to tell if you’ve become complacent.

You’ve lost your excitement – Have you begun to lose passion for your work?  Or have you already lost it and are no longer excited about your job or career?  Your passion may have disappeared or just gone astray, but either way it’s important to find it again.  Passion fuels excellence, gives you something to strive toward and helps sustain high performance, which makes it worth getting up in morning.

You look for shortcuts – Are you as thorough or detailed as you once were?  Many complacent mangers count on their past successes and good reputations to cover for their current laziness.  They become a liability to themselves and the company.

You no longer invest in yourself – Are you focused on success in your current job and long term career?  Complacent people stop investing time, money and energy to meet their goals and objectives; they no longer strive to improve.  They don’t maintain relationships with in-house and outside colleagues, network or attend trainings.

You’ve stopped learning – Do you think you’ve learned everything you need to know?  Managers who are “know it alls” are particularly dangerous to an organization.  They’re disruptive, negative, poor team players and routinely disliked by their co-workers.

You’ve stopped thinking and disengaged – Have you stopped asking questions and challenging yourself or others?  Complacent supervisors go along to get along.  They specialize in doing only what they’re told to do and bring little value to the company or to their careers. They’re seldom collaborative and do little to move company objectives forward.

You don’t take risks – Are you looking for the next calculated risk that will move you and your company forward?  Risk is healthy and essential in work and in life.  Complacency makes people poor judges of constructive risk vs. destructive risk.

We all have supervised, worked with or for people who are complacent mangers and have been frustrated by this management style.  It’s unsuccessful at its best and destructive at its worst.  It’s highly probably that George Patton was talking about just such a person when he said, “We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people.  Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.”