How to avoid appointing a ‘managerial misfit’

To avoid appointing a “managerial misfit”, careful consideration needs to be given to capability, authority, responsibility and accountability. Image: Freepik

To avoid appointing a “managerial misfit”, careful consideration needs to be given to capability, authority, responsibility and accountability. Image: Freepik

Published Aug 18, 2023


Des Squire

THE appointment of employees to managerial positions is often a cause of concern. This is evident in today’s business world where we have managers holding positions they should never have been given. They are simply “managerial misfits”.

How do we go about identifying people we would like to promote or appoint to managerial positions - and trust that we have made the right decisions?

To make the right decision regarding such appointments, it is not sufficient to identify a need and simply choose the person we think is the most suitable.

There are four essentials that must be considered: the person must be capable, must be willing to accept and deal effectively with authority, must accept the responsibility that goes with the position, and must be willing to acknowledge that there will be accountability.


The person considered must not only be capable of doing the job, they should already have demonstrated ability and competency as a leader and manager.

Managerial qualities should be evident to others. The person considered should be seen to be talented, skilled, qualified and accomplished.

Being capable involves knowledge of the company, its values, mission and objectives.

It involves being capable of leading others while commanding their respect.

Finally, the person must be capable of achieving the desired results and should be able to demonstrate a history of similar achievement.


Before making an appointment, it is necessary to consider how the incumbent deals with those in authority. How does he or she respond to authority? What is their understanding of authority? How will they use it?

Once appointed, the manager or supervisor must be given authority. A mistake often made is that managers are appointed, but are not given the authority needed to allow them to do what is required of them.

Once appointed, it is the manager’s right and at the same time obligation to clarify the level of authority.

If the newly-appointed manager is not given authority, they should assume it. The alternative would be to assume authority within the constraints of the position, while at the same time seeking to have this aspect of the appointment clarified. There is no room in management for individuals who are not prepared to accept authority, willing to assume authority or who refuse to acknowledge authority.

In making any appointment, be sure to outline the level of authority and the inevitable responsibilities that go with it.


In any managerial position, having the ability to accept the responsibilities of the position is essential.

There are three forms of responsibility that need to be taken into consideration - and ability in all three areas should be evident. These are responsibility given to the manager, assumed responsibility, and personal responsibility he or she was born with.

We are all born with certain responsibilities. This is exemplified by the way in which we accept responsibility for our daily actions and behaviour. No one gave us this responsibility; no one had to tell us we had it.

Potential managers should have demonstrated their personal responsibility in the workplace and be capable of verifying responsibility in real life situations.

Managers will also be given areas of responsibility for which they should be held accountable. There is no such thing as shared responsibility or shared accountability.

A potential manager should have exemplified ability in this area by the way in which he or she accepted responsibility for their own work-related activities and for decisions made.

Finally, there is assumed responsibility. This is when a person decides to do something about a situation. They have not been given authority to take action, but because of the situation they assume authority and accept responsibility.


When a person assumes responsibility, it is natural to accept that they will be held accountable. This is the true sign of a quality leader and manager.

We are accountable for what we do in life and in business. When we make decisions, we must take responsibility for those decisions and accept that we will be accountable.

In considering a managerial appointment, we need to consider to what extent the person exemplifies an ability to accept responsibility and to be held accountable. To what extent has the person done so in the past?

  • Des Squire is a managing member at AMSI and ASSOCIATES.