Leaders who are sick & tired of sick & tired Leadership

Is your Organisation catching a cold or a full-blown fever?


The usual sign that an organization has been infected by inadequate leadership is:


  • No ownership of accountability and responsibilities

  • Leaders work in silos, each being interested in their own portfolios only, with conflicting results which ultimately means there is no joint accountability

  • Behaviors and protocols are inappropriate and self-defeating

  • Skills sets are low, inadequate training is given and talent is poorly managed

  • Performance management process or key performance indicators are poorly defined, poorly managed and inconsistent

  • Poor supervisory processes exist, and no measurement of effectiveness is in place

  • Performance reviews are inadequately evaluated, and assurance and delivery of accountability is low

What lies beneath?

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The crippling cause lies beneath the surface and it boils down to just one thing:


ACCOUNTABILITY HAS FLOWN OUT THE WINDOW!

Unpack the symptoms of accountability and you will find burning issues of ownership, skills, ineffective performance management process, measurements, protocols and silo mentality.


If the signs are there in any shape or form, then your organization is coming down with a case of unclear accountability.


Most interventions adopted by companies to normalize the situation merely address just the symptoms.


Even before the ink on the consultant’s cheque has dried more symptoms appear on the surface and more of the same remedies in heavier doses are prescribed. This only provides sustainability for the consultants who set up shop in the company indefinitely, dispensing their brand of drugs that fosters increasing dependence of the patient.


However, if the remedy is designed to effectively root out the causes of the sickness, then the organization can throw away its life support system and return healthy to profits once again.

In other words, give your leaders management programs and they will manage for a while, but teach your leaders to lead and they’ll never starve for vision ever again.


Should you continue to use today’s leadership practices born out of yesterday’s theories of management practices you will continue to work like a blind man winking in the dark. Only you know what you are doing.

Crises in our leadership model


We are where we are because of where we have anchored our focus.

Today we value specialist skills over leadership experience.


We take the sharpest salesman with no leadership experience and make him the Sales Director.


The result: he falls miserably short when measured as a leader. His disastrous performance in a leadership role leaves him demotivated, disappointed and destroyed. We have effectively killed his career and deprived his old department of real talent, demoralized our entire workforce, and created a leadership gap.


Today we try to speed up tomorrow.


The scariest statistic is that we fast track leadership succession every single day in hundreds of organizations around the world, furthermore this threatening trend is supported by wide-ranging political, social, and legislative frameworks that promote specialty skills or politically correct candidates over leadership experience.

Today we value instruction over intuition.


A graduate student who scored straight A’s gets to lead an old and experienced team.


The young upstart is unfairly thrown in the deep end among the older sharks and for survival starts throwing the textbook leadership stuff at them which only served to widen the divide. As animosity and distrust grow, the practical skills, experience and intuition the old school brings dies on the river banks. A rolling stone gathers no moss and tomorrow's leaders who do not have the opportunity to roll out their leadership style in a natural and nurturing environment are starved for growth.


Today we cannot differentiate between leaders and managers

In the fuzzy logic that roams the leadership landscape, the sheepdog thinks he’s the Shepard. The flip side of the coin is that the Shepard gets on all fours and barks the flock this way and that until they toe the line. This mentality is a carryover from the traditional school of leadership which blurred the links in the first place. Leaders are #accountable to the Board to lead the vision of the organization to greener pasture and protect the integrity of that vision. Managers are responsible for the day to day performance of the tasks against the delivery of that vision.

Today we have difficulty having difficult conversations


Non-performance and poor delivery against #accountability steam ahead ungoverned, because an effective dialogue track has not been entrenched in the organization. Leaders miss the opportunity to reinforce their leadership style, align the Organisation to their vision, and create a learning team that delivers effectively against performance indicators. This provides a great opportunity to talk about leaders’ frustrations in postponing conversations of performance management because the emotional tension overrides objectivity. We know we have to have a difficult conversation, but we put it off for another day and end up postponing it indefinitely. It sits as emotional baggage and colours our lens of looking at the individual. The next time it crops up is at the performance review meeting, usually with disastrous consequences. The inability to have a difficult conversation weakens the #leadership position. The lack of skills in conducting a dialogue over #performance through the minefield of emotions, potent in every difficult conversation, usually backfires with self-defeating consequences that backtrack the situation.

Contagious leadership

The #leadership crisis we are experiencing today is the virus of the world’s economy. It infects organizations where it hurts the most, at the top level, in the leadership gene pool and at the strategic performance center of the organization and at the emotional heart of the people.


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1 Skeen Boulevard Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2007

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