The following assessment is designed to help CEO’s and other executives identify if leadership dysfunction is present in their organization. The following questions focus on the top 10 leadership behaviors that derail organizational success.
Unproductive Leadership Behavior Assessment
- Do leaders ask you to referee their conflict?
Description: Leaders come to you with unresolved conflict between themselves and other individuals or business areas. They lobby for your support and expect you to resolve issues and problems that they are not handling.
Escalating Behavior: Problems between peers are escalated to an authority figure rather than individuals taking accountability for resolving the issue with one another.
- Do you repeat the same message over and over again with little response or action?
Description: Your message is clear and articulate, however, leaders give lip service to your words or feign confusion or a lack of understanding. Regardless of how many different ways you deliver your message, you are met with resistance.
Hedging Behavior: Delaying and confusion tactics are used to avoid committing and being held accountable for a specific action or result.
- Do senior leadership groups, of the company and key businesses, lack cohesion and synergy?
Description: Senior leadership groups lack synergism (i.e., working together as a single entity”) and do not deliver a consistent and cohesive message to the organization.
Leaders view one another as: 1) adversaries who are competing for resources, 2) a group, not a team, or 3) heads of diverse business areas that do not require enterprise-wide collaboration or partnership.
We-They Behavior: There are two forms of We-they thinking and acting: 1) Leaders who work in silos competing for resources and power by driving their personal agenda, and 2) Leaders who selectively work with other leaders and groups. Both types of behavior prevent a cohesive leadership group from emerging.
- Is there a lack of leadership alignment?
Description: Some leaders are fully aligned and on board while others are not. You have various levels of leadership alignment ranging from leaders who actively resist to leaders who are authentically aligned (i.e., intellectually and emotionally committed).
False Alignment Behavior: Leaders say they are aligned in meetings but behave differently after the meeting is over. They withhold their emotional commitment and demonstrate a lack of support by their silence, inaction, lack of enthusiasm, failure to encourage and enroll others, and lack of public commitment.
- Are leaders complacent and lacking a sense of urgency?
Description: Some leaders are complacent and unwilling to change anything that alters their comfort level with the status quo. Implementation is agonizingly slow, innovation is non-existent, and new ideas for dramatically improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency are met with skepticism.
Entitlement Behavior: People view the organization and others as existing to serve their needs. This attitude of “the organization owes me” results in negative ways of getting personal needs met without regard to the impact on business results or people. When entitlement is present, people cling to the status quo rather than risk an uncertain future.
- Do the same (few) leaders dominate meetings and decision-making?
Description: Some leaders do not speak up in meetings and when they do speak up, they do not share their real concerns. Meetings default to a few vocal people who control the discussion and drive decisions. Attempts to get others to speak up are met with little or no success.
Low Trust Behavior: Leaders lack trust and do not feel safe or confident in telling the truth about issues, concerns and workplace problems for fear of repercussions (e.g., loss of credibility, limiting impact on career, being ostracized, judged, fired).
- Do leaders blame others, the company or circumstances for their lack of results?
Description: Leaders justify poor results with reasons, excuses and explanations. Speaking and actions demonstrate a lack of personal accountability and ownership for business results.
Victim Behavior: People blame others or circumstances for the situation/problem and refuse to accept personal accountability for how their actions contributed to the situation. The lack of accountability results in an external focus on what others are not doing instead of an internal focus where the individual asks the question, “Where am I in the way and what behavior do I need to change”?
- Do leaders complain about projects and initiatives, the company, the senior group?
Description: Disgruntled leaders complain to one another about what’s wrong, what’s not working, what’s not possible, what will never work and what leaders are doing wrong.
Conspiratorial Behavior: When people are dissatisfied, they conspire with others (e.g., private conversations, rumors, gossip) to gain support and agreement and actively gather evidence to reinforce their point of view. Conspiratorial behavior spreads and contaminates entire organizations and business units. People who are new to the organization are particularly vulnerable and are quickly indoctrinated by dissatisfied individuals who present a negative and limiting view about other leaders and the organization.
- Do leaders lack initiative, strategic thinking and/or proactive behavior?
Description: Leaders are disengaged and focus on tactical needs rather than being proactive and adopting an enterprise perspective. The focus is on managing the status quo rather than initiating new action to achieve strategic business needs.
Shrinking the Game Behavior: Disengaged people reduce their focus to their individual area of responsibility thereby limiting their participation and contributions to the larger business. This is referred to as shrinking the game. The behavior is usually based on a belief that nothing will change and it is no longer worth the effort to fight losing battles. These beliefs fuel wait and see and non-participatory behaviors.
10. Do leaders deny that people problems exists (e.g., denying that there is resistance to change, relationship and alignments issues)?
Description: Leaders argue for the status quo and deny that there are problems with how people are working together. Instead they focus on the easier to discuss issues such as business concerns. There is an unwillingness to talking straight responsibly and confront the real behavioral issues that are undermining business results.
Denial Behavior: People avoid discussing sensitive and uncomfortable issues about people dysfunction by denying that it exists. Denial behavior is easily observed when people rotate the discussion away from behavior (theirs and others), to business issues that they can debate and argue. Denial keeps people and the organization stuck in place and presents an insurmountable barrier to change.