The popular media is full of examples of bad leaders in government, academia, and business. But the most common kind of incompetent leader isn’t the ranting, narcissistic sociopath that might immediately come to mind. Rather, it’s the “absentee leader” — those in leadership roles who are psychologically absent from them. These people were promoted into management, and enjoy the privileges and rewards of a leadership role, but avoid meaningful involvement with their teams. Absentee leaders kill engagement and productivity. Research shows that being ignored by one’s boss is more alienating than being treated poorly, and that the impact of absentee leadership on job satisfaction outlasts the impact of both constructive and more overtly destructive forms of leadership. The chances are good, however, that your organization is unaware of its absentee leaders, because they specialize in flying under the radar by not doing anything that attracts attention. Nonetheless, the adhesiveness of their negative impact may be slowly and silently killing your organization.
More than 50% of executives who inherit a mess fail within their first 18 months on the job. To effectively lead a turnaround, resist the temptation to emotionally distance yourself and blame your predecessor. Moreover, minimize references to your past successes; while you should draw on what’s worked for you in the past, no one in a struggling organization likes to hear “This is how we did it at my old company.” You are part of this team now; embrace it. Doing so will help you manage the emotions of people who are probably worrying about keeping their jobs. To help keep their anxiety down, be transparent about how you’ll make changes to the organization and on what kind of timeline. But don’t be afraid to push back when they bring you data that seems skewed, or offer ideas that seem designed to showcase how valuable they are. You want to clean up the mess, not create another one.
By now, it’s understood that diversity and inclusion are important attributes for any high-functioning businesses. Several recent studies have shown that diverse and inclusive operations tend to be more innovative, generate better ideas, and capture new markets. The Center for Talent Innovation (pdf) found that companies with diverse employees are 70 percent more likely to report […]
What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility. Source: Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe
To achieve true transformational change, CEOs must have more than a strategic plan. To effect actual change, they need to understand how biases — their own, and their employees’ — can shape behaviors and decisions, and prevent them from achieving what they set out to achieve. CEOs need to be especially aware of how the […]