It’s stunning how many leaders refuse to think this way.
People success is a measure of effective leadership. Where there are performance failures, there are leadership failures. When passion fades in once-passionate people, it looks and behaves in one of the following ways:
- Drifting away. People show up for work but they “quit” a little more every day as the gap between excellence and mediocrity widens. They are tired of pushing against barriers and constantly fighting battles. Fear, complacency, defeat and boredom are indicators of someone struggling to keep his head in the game.
- Drawing away. Triggered by events or decisions considered unfair, hypocritical, or double-standards, people subtly shove away from their organization and privately “fire” its leaders. Quality of work may remain high but attitude plummets. Angry, aloof, absent and silent describe one whose heart is no longer in the game.
Leaders share responsibility for these situations; CEOs need to know when to knock those who believe otherwise off their pedestals. A title doesn’t guarantee integrity and character. It doesn’t necessarily prevent acts of saving face or self-promotion. It doesn’t promise freedom from bias, favoritism, retaliation or territorialism. Executives can fail to model organizational values, or deflect personal accountability while preaching it. Some do resort to bully tactics that hurt their targets such as humiliation, exclusion, selective follow through, withdrawing commitments, withholding information, the cold shoulder.
These are tough times for our industry and everyone must be contributing, performing at their peak, staying on their A game. Aside from separation decisions based on cases of dishonesty, unethical conduct or sabotaging progress, don’t let leaders automatically shift the blame and economic consequences onto someone else if, upon closer scrutiny, they failed in their own primary responsibility: doing all they can to help every person on their team succeed so that, in turn, the organization succeeds.