Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Leadership Erodes

Originally uploaded by Breath of Life

In any enterprise, when the leadership begins to erode, the followers begin to grow restless. The vision gets lost. Morale dips. Communication becomes scarce. Many grow disgruntled. The workplace rumors soar. Many begin to show up only for the paycheck. Apathy sets in.

Your best employees leave. Maybe they don't walk out the door, but they grow bitter and cynical. Your best employees don't have to walk out the door for you to lose them.

It's a common trap for leaders to become complacent because the notable players are still around. Then one day it all goes wrong. The indecision, the ineffectiveness, the inaction all collide. The notable players (your best employees) show severe displeasure and the next thing you know they really are walking out the door.

This can be reversed. It takes time and a rebuilding of trust, but I do believe it can be reversed.

Some ideas:

  • Tear down the corporate structures that restrict innovation and growth.
  • Stop promoting mediocrity and begin promoting those who want to make the changes necessary to reverse the ship.
  • Identify your visionary leaders. You will need them to regain or possibly even reinvent the vision.
  • Stop playing it safe and just going with the flow. Start taking some risks that will give a spark of energy to your employees.
  • Realize the importance of team building and who will perform this task best - then put them in place to start building.
  • Get your hands dirty and build relationships.
  • Invite new ideas into the fold, listen to the new ideas, and then actually implement them when they are worthy of pursuing.
  • Quit blaming and start fixing.
  • Sweat the small stuff and work your way up to the bigger stuff. It will give you a little more credibility when it comes to the old, cynical hands who won't want to change.
  • Put trust in your employees. Especially in your best employees.
  • Be clear on goals.
  • Open the doors of communication, but don't shut them as soon as the negative sentiments come out. Acknowledge them and then fix them.
What are some of your suggestions?


cymberly said...

Andrew -

This is such a great post. I have nothing to add because it is just so wonderful.

Andrew Weaver said...

You never know - your input could be valuable. AND - it probably would be. :)

Thanks, Cymberly.