Coping with Inadequacy

When people work together, day after day, individual weaknesses and frailties become visible for all to see. How these inadequacies are dealt with is key to an organisation’s success…

Driving in the car today, I listened to a tragic tale of a teenage suicide being told by the boy’s mother. She was now on a mission to reduce the number of these terrible events.

I need to make clear I that I am no expert in child development, but as I listened to the woman being interviewed, it occurred to me that one of the pressures teenagers face is coming to terms with human inadequacies. In particular, the inadequacies of their parents.

Younger children do not have the maturity to see the weaknesses in their parents. They see their parents as infallible. Teenagers don’t view the world the same way as adults do.

So it is in the workplace. The inadequacies of leaders are there for all to see. And the risk for any team or organisation is that people focus on these ‘weaknesses’, as an excuse for team performance.

Another risk is for people to generalise about leadership team performance from the inadequacies of one leader. If one leader is sensitive to negative feedback, it is easy for people to label the whole leadership team as being non-responsive.

Our generalisations about others may need to be challenged.