Things Today’s Leaders Need To Stop Ignoring
One of my passions is helping companies develop their leaders of the future. Building the talent that will lead the company in the coming decades. The challenge with this type of work is that right now we are in a leadership crisis.
Not only do most organizations lack the bench strength to create their next group of leaders, but many require the culture to allow tomorrow’s leaders to be successful. While these leaders are working on the vision and the plan that it takes to develop that culture; they often miss the importance of confronting the details that it takes actually to get the job done.
Many leaders embrace that “business as usual” is not going to cut it anymore in today’s marketplace. What is happening is that most leaders are ignoring the underlying negative actions that can destroy, if not addressed, the work that they have been implementing to move their organizations forward strategically.
So what are those issues?
Lack of Support – leaders not supporting leaders. The old lines of, “leadership” is asking us to do this” or “they made this decision” are the very lines that can kill a change before it ever gets started. Leaders at every level of the company need to know that their job is to support what senior leadership is doing no matter what. They can disagree, argue, ask questions, or share their ideas to do things differently in private. But to the team, leadership needs to be a united front. That goes both ways, senior leaders supporting middle management, and middle management supporting senior leaders.
Closed Doors – while doors have to be closed on occasion; but the more that the doors appear to be closed, the more unsteady employees become. Closed door meetings at any level of an organization imply things that are going on that employees are not allowed to know about, and when they do not understand what is going on, they assume the worst. That invokes fear, and fear fuels resistance to change almost more than anything.
Talking Behind Others Backs – whether it be leaders doing it to leaders, or leaders doing it with employees or employees doing it to each other, talking about someone without them in the room creates distrust among the team. You need a rule, a policy that encourages team members to talk about team members or leadership, but only on rare occasions outside of the presence of the other person can no longer be allowed to that without the presence of the said employee. Just this minor change, will rapidly build respect for you as the leader. The more respected you are, the more you can invoke change.
Allowing Change Resistance – allowing employees and leaders to fight change for no other reason than they don’t like it. Fighting change for change sake and not being open to at least trying something new, or doing something a different way. If you have members among your team who fight everything, have objections every time you even try to make a simple change, then you have a problem you can no longer ignore. Allowing that person to continue sends a strong message that the team does not need to get on board.
Bad Communication – communication is everything when it comes to ensuring change happens and it happens effectively. As a leader you have to communicate, heck, you have to over-communicate. You need to ensure team members not only understand what you are doing, but why are you doing it, and most importantly what is in it for them. Also, you have to stop communicating anything of importance through email, and never allow an email chain to go longer than three exchanges. Email is an effective way to communicate when you need to share information that does not evoke strong emotion or the threat of resistance. When the communication is essential, choose to do it the old fashion way: face-to-face.
Defining the change your organization needs to make is your first step as a leader, getting your team to embrace it, own it, and implement it is the next step and far more important steps. To get those executed, you need to stop ignoring negative team behaviors and start paying attention to the details.
Leaders spend a lot of time, energy and resources on consultants, speakers and trainers to help you build the organization of the future, so while they’re busy doing their jobs do yours and stop ignoring the small stuff. Build a culture where future leaders can thrive.