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Any Damn Fool
To be a lifeguard you must be trained and certified.  To be a teacher in most school systems you must be trained and certified.  To do important financial record keeping you must be a Certified Public Accountant.  To be a carpenter you must be apprenticed and licensed.  The same is true of plumbers, electricians, and almost all building trade workers.  Doctors, lawyers, nurses, the list of licensed or certified vocations is endless.

But, any damn fool can be a manager.

There is no training requirement, no minimum standards, no testing, nor any regulation of the people who control the lives of those that depend on them for the guidance and instruction in the workplace.

But We Have Employment Laws
Some might say that we have employment laws to protect workers and in some situations we have unions.  Employees can and do sue companies when a manager acts inappropriately.  Federal, State, County, and Municipal agencies can also address issues of inappropriate acts of management.  Problem solved!  So what is the big deal?

In every case of poor management there is one common denominator.  The individual manager that should know better, but doesn’t.  If an individual manager acts in a way that is wrong, possibly even illegal, they can be sued or even fired, but that person can move on and still be a manager somewhere else.  What is worse, if the company condoned the behavior, there may be little the worker can do because there is no individual accountability of a manager.  In any other trained vocation there is individual accountability.  If an electrician is asked by his employer to not follow code the person knows that it is her or his license at risk; therefore, there is a check and balance in the workplace.  This same check and balance does not exist for a person in management.

Bringing Down the Economy Through Bad Management
In dissecting the causes of our current economic crisis we have learned that many managers coerced their workers to act in a manner that jeopardized not only the company, but the global economy.  What if a manager was risking his or her management certification to follow the directives of the company?  Certainly a certification is not going to stop bad management behavior, but it might cause a manager think about the consequences before they risk losing their career.

This problem extends beyond simple coercion.  While many larger companies may have training programs for their managers to educate them on employment law and company policies on the treatment of workers, smaller companies do not have the resources to train their managers and often have the worst of the worst managers.  The problem is that even the basic employment laws may not be understood by managers of small companies and if sued, the business may go bankrupt, leaving all the workers to suffer and the culpable manager free to look for his or her next job.

A Better Work Environment; Better, Wiser Managers; and Save Money
Certified managers might seem an absurd idea because it would impact so many employers and how they hire and promote management staff, however, consider the following:

  • State certified managers would be trained in Federal, State, and local laws and regulations thereby saving the companies from need to perform this function and save the expense of the labor and education costs.
  • Certified managers would be aware of laws; therefore, fewer issues of managers acting out of ignorance.  Saving time, conflict-resolution, and litigation.
  • Certified managers would mean even small companies would have access to managers who meet the standards of all managers regardless of company size.
  • Company condoned acts that violate the law, codes, or common sense would have to coerce the managers to risk his or her certification.
  • The Human Resources department could be significantly reduced and many internal policies on management behavior and standards eliminated.

Maybe it’s time we raise the bar on what it means to be in management and create minimum requirements and standards for managers.