One Thing You Don't Want to Hear From a VP

A few months ago when consulting a national company, I worked directly with several vice presidents. One day I ran into one of the executives in the hall and asked him how his day was going. He could hardly catch his breath and said that he was crazily busy and didn’t have time to do all the things he needed to do. Then he said what instantaneously got red flagged in my head:

“If I could only clone myself.”

I’ll get straight to the point. There are a number of reasons you don’t want to hear this from a VP:

  1. It clearly indicates that he is not a good manager because managing is all about delegating tasks and managing people who execute them
  2. The person is arrogant because he thinks nobody in his team is good enough to do what needs to be done
  3. Instead of doing a high level work, this person spends valuable time doing all the little things instead of managing people and achieving large scale goals as a team.

The thing is, you shouldn’t get to this level if you plan on cloning yourself. People become vice presidents exactly because they know how to get the job done without cloning themselves. If you’re a VP and you say this, then you either got there too early or you need urgent training.

I wouldn’t be judging this too fast if I didn’t know this person long enough. He was the only VP in the company who tried to do everything himself and also get credit for all the work. It led to many late nights at work, exhaustion, frustration, etc.

Bottom line: top management and executive type jobs are all about delegating and managing. If these two things are not in place, hopefully the CEO is able to spot this and do something about it.

My two cents, looking from the outside.

Evening UST MBA student Vitaly Demin, is a strategy consultant at Eames Management Group.