It has always been my contention that leadership is about influence, building up and leaving a place in a better state than you found it. The opposite is also true that people who lack leadership manipulate, demolish and leave the organisation in ruins.
Some consciously or unconsciously dedicate their time, energy and effort to reverse the gains of their predecessors. In most cases, such leaders do not have the interest of the organisation, employees or the shareholder at heart.
They serve the interest of their ego. They might express belief in the organisation and how they want to make a difference, but the lived experiences of employees tell a different story. The trust levels are very low and in such an environment performance cannot flourish. According to the Gallup Global database, just one in three employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization.
Lack of trust destroys organisations and if you are or aspire to become a leader worth their mettle, avoid these traps:
#1. Stop visioning: These leaders are focused on the detail and day to day operations instead of providing long term strategic vision. They fail to articulate the vision and to provide inspiration and hope for the future. Theirs is to meddle in what the tactical and operational layers of the business should be doing thus disempowering them in the process. This is not to say that leaders at the helm should just be visionaries. This means that their time should be more biased towards the visioning, providing direction and focusing on the purpose and brand that defines the future of the organisation.
#2. Ignore values: Their behaviours and what they stand for is in stuck contrast to the values of the organisation. Their decisions are not driven by the values and belief system of the company. They hardly articulate nor mention values in their engagement with staff. To them, values are less important and are seen as a waste of time.
#3. Steeped in the hierarchy: The leaders worship their positions and expect to be worshipped by everyone. There is an emphasis on who they are and who they are connected with. In such organisations, there is no access to the top leaders either by design or coincidence. Employees are scared to engage with leaders because of the air of self-importance and arrogance that they carry with them.
#4. Mistreating others: These leaders fail to understand that people make organisations and without people, there is no organisation. The language they use belittle those that they are supposed to lead and make them feel worthless. The focus is on the past and settling scores in the name of clearing bad apples instead of defining the new ways of work and what will be tolerated and not tolerated. They search for minor mistakes in everything so that they can deal with employees who are deemed not to toe the line. Their primary focus is punishment rather than correction.
#5. Poor communication: I have come to understand that such leaders will not communicate because they do not have the vision to communicate. Views and perspectives from others are not accepted because they listen to no one but themselves. They believe they have better answers than anyone else. The challenge that such leaders fail to understand is that by not formally communicating, they are opening a vacuum that will be filled by cooler water and corridor talks. When this parallel channel grows, levels of engagement start to plummet and by the time they are ready to communicate, they might be left with no one to lead.
During your next change initiative or when you work on defining your organisational culture, look for these traps because they have great potential to destroy your organisation effortlessly.
Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex for speaking engagements and to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit http://www.dreamsmadepossible.co.za/contact.html. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.