There probably is nothing more frustrating than to work for a dysfunctional leader. It is more common in Michigan and across the country than you would think. If you work for a leader to whom you respect, then that is great. But there are sometimes organizational signs that trouble is brewing. It starts in the most benign of fashion, with leadership simply ignoring the phone messages and e-mails of subordinates. On the occasions where one-on-one contact is possible, this individual is just is too busy to listen to anything. It is indeed the classic strategy of a dysfunctional leader to ignore something until it goes away.
But, there are other warning signs as well.
- Non-communication: Whether it is the lack of communication, the brevity of it, or the messages that get back to you that are not of a positive nature; it indeed takes experience to grow as a good non-communicator.
- Not leading by example: Sometimes it is necessary to have a three hour lunch or to wear a golf shirt to the morning meeting and then be “off-site” the rest of the day; legitimate or not, all levels of the organization notice.
- Groupthink: Ineffective group decisions are steered very successfully by the dysfunctional leader (Janus, 1972). Unanimity should never be greater than rationality. Decision fiascoes happen frequently when everyone agrees with the leader in complete unison.
- Lack of feedback: There usually is no time for coaching, subordinate growth, and performance appraisals. And when it really has to happen, going through the motions is never a good thing.
- Private agendas: There are a number of tasks that everyone does on a daily basis. They take time and they take energy. But if you can have a subordinate do them, it is all part of the job. It is never in one’s job description to get lunch, go to the bank, or head to the dry cleaners for anyone one but you.
- Ineffective meetings: Every Friday, there is an 8 a.m. meeting with no agenda, no note taking, and no business discussion. But it is Friday, every Friday.
Good leadership is essential in 2012 organizations. When you are given the chance to grow in leadership, do it for the team first. You will always get success with that focus.
Attend The Leadership Advantage by simply clicking on the class name. Tuesday March 27th in Novi!
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