In our pursuit to become better leaders, we need to take pause and consider those behaviors that can quickly take you from the fast track to being off the rails completely. These behaviors can show up as "micro aggressions" or full blow toxic patterns. Here's the last of 4 reasons why I believe leaders fail.
Reason #4 - They lack direction.
It may not seem as toxic as being unethical, arrogant, or blocking decisions, but lacking direction can completely squash a leader's respect. People want to be led, need to be led, and are looking all the time for direction. Leaders that cannot set that direction, think ahead, use strategy to solve issues, and drive the team towards a valuable future will suffer a slow, dying death. Sitting in the chair year after year with no measurable change or impact to the business is just as bad as the other toxic behaviors.
Before you jump into to all the ways to lead more effectively or research more models on leadership, consider the behaviors that you SHOULDN'T engage in. Sometimes being great means avoiding a few things that derail your leadership. I have boiled it down to four main reasons leaders fail.
Reason #3 - They lack decision making ability.
I know that there are different styles of decision making. But we have to be real about what we need leaders to do. Organizations need leaders who make decisions. Lots of them. With a certain pace and quality that may not always be comfortable. May not always be backed with all the information needed, and may not always be popular. But that's the job!
We all know that there are many models of leadership. There are also hundreds of books and programs that help leaders become more effective. Sometimes the best part of leadership development is just stopping the derailers that will inevitably land you in leadership purgatory. I have boiled it down to four main reasons leaders fail.
Let's look at reason #2 - They lack humility.
I know that being humble is a given when it comes to leadership. But we have to be honest with ourselves that there are still many leaders out there who truly believe they are the smartest people in the room. These narcissistic deadly sinners are extremely ego centric and focus on their own preservation over those of the team and organization.
With all the materials out there regarding leadership, it's time to take a look at the dark side. You can google leadership and find books, articles, steps, methods, and countless other things to help you thrive as a leader. But not as often, are there straight, to the point derailers that will inevitably land you in leadership purgatory. I have boiled it down to four main reasons leaders fail.
Let's start with reason #1 - They lack integrity.
I know this term has typically been reserved for serial killers, but let's be honest, there are toxic killers in organizations. Manipulative psychopaths that destroy the productivity and well-being of others are allowed to roam the halls of offices and create chaos for those in their path.
Companies continue to struggle to design their Performance Management Systems so they drive and reward the right behaviors. Design elements like rating scales, when to rate, what to rate and how the ratings are calibrated are continuously revamped in hopes of yielding change. However, there is one element that often gets overlooked. The role of the leader.
Leaders exist for one reason only. To drive performance. Leadership Development is a multi-billion dollar industry that is filled with lots of hype about what makes a good leader. A good leader is one that aligns the team's skills and abilities to achieve valuable, strategic outcomes. If you are a humble, servant leader but you don't achieve outcomes and cannot get the team to execute, then you're not leading.
There are three main roles of the leader when it comes to performance:
Organizational Performance should never be confused with performance ratings. Sadly, sometimes the two end up having nothing to do with each other. Let's talk about a couple of myths before we dive into why Performance Systems Fail.
Myth #1: Performance ratings are a reflection of organizational performance - Performance ratings are reported in distributions but are really reflections of many leader's assessments of the goals for a particular employee. Performance occurs all the time outside the traditional performance management system. Sometimes the rating is not all-encompassing. There are many reasons this happens. The quality of the goal, the measurement of the goal, application of the rating, and the calibration of ratings to name a few.
Myth #2: Employee performance means organizational performance - See Myth #1. Because of all the issues with Performance Ratings, it is impossible to have a broad employee population reflect organizational...
The Bully Leader is exactly what it sounds like. That aggressive jerk who pushes people into the locker just to make themselves look cool. They have some power and they will use it. They will use it to destroy the self-esteem and self-worth of others. Why? Who knows? Because they were bullied once. Because they’re really insecure. Because they take some sick, twisted pleasure in hurting others. It really shouldn’t matter why. It matters what they’re doing to your organization and leadership culture
The Bullies come in all colors and stripes and organizations seem to have a lot of tolerance for them. They must because there may not be many they are so damaging that no one understands why they are still there. Bullies in leadership roles have employees focus slavishly on anything but the organizational objectives, then reprimand them for not meeting the organizational objective. When you work overtime and weekends to finally meet the organizational...
So often people wait for their company or leader to define their career path. I've spent years coaching and advising employees and leaders to take accountability and wait for no one. The first step is the hardest one for most people. It's about taking charge and creating self awareness of your career journey. It is up to us to know where we want to be. What's that last job you want be in when you retire? What role is the role you're shooting for? Only you can define where you want to be and in what timeframe. It also takes digging deep and having self awareness of where you are today. So many people are not spending time reflecting on those questions and are getting frustrated with their careers and where they are at. Your career path journey also requires that you have understanding of what it takes to be in the role you want to be in. Do you know what it takes to be in the C-Suite? What are those skills and...