7 Classic Complaints About Leadership Teams

Chief Executives make seven classic complaints about their leadership team, according to BlessingWhite, a global consulting firm based in Princeton, USA. The complaints are clear signs that the senior-management team is not functioning well, the firm said.

“As a rule, such gripes or comments made by the President or Chief Executive Officer reflect underlying interpersonal issues confronting the leadership team,” said BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice. “Among them is that the CEO gets too much agreement and too little candor, and this is the most frequent reason for a leadership intervention to help with strategic alignment, team building or comparable exercise. The challenge is to encourage every team member to speak up, to facilitate more back and forth, even if it means dissent from the CEO’s point of view.”

The firm paraphrased the top seven complaints they most often hear from CEOs before a leadership development initiative is implemented:

1. “Everyone always agrees with me, and that makes me uneasy.”

2. “All I get is data, but not much insight.”

3. “We focus so much on competence that the senior team never gets emotionally charged up.”

4. “All we talk about is results, but we don’t change the way we do things.”

5. “I find myself talking strategy ’til I’m blue in the face, but my team doesn’t get it.”

6. “Some of my best people have left, and no one tells me why.”

7. “A lot of change is happening, but people don’t see how it all fits together.”

Lack of candor among senior teams, Rice explained, is to some degree unavoidable. “The CEO may be so charismatic that no one else is comfortable contributing, or sounding a discordant note. CEOs, however, tend to be intuitive and recognize when they’re not hearing all they need to hear. It’s usually the CEO who sees that something needs to be done to shake up the team.”

Another frequent issue is lack of emotional engagement by members of the team, Rice said. “This may occur even when an organization is doing well, that is, when the right numbers are coming in. In these cases longer-term behavioral issues are often overlooked amid the good news. The great CEOs are the ones who don’t wait for earnings to tail off, but intervene so that all the top people are truly involved on a visceral level.”

Many leadership teams become so focused on results and data, said Rice, that there is a natural tendency to overlook fundamental person-to-person issues. “Top people are inundated with data, daily if not hourly. And if it’s not data, then it’s a torrent of e-mail. So team members often find they’re not actually talking with one another, but just messaging or trying to stay on top of things. Then after a year or two the CEO gets the sense that team members are drifting apart, that the overall picture is less distinct, and it’s time to everyone to get together and speak frankly.”

Lets take a closer look at these 7 complaints if we are to agree with the research:-

1. “Everyone always agrees with me, and that makes me uneasy.”

If there is this trend occurring you as the leader have the responsibility to speak into what you sense, what you intuitively pickup. Feeling uneasy as a leader is a good sign, its an opportunity to speak into it not avoid it!

2. “All I get is data, but not much insight.”

Why do you as the leader tolerate this if this is occurring. You set the precedent on what you expect, when you set a precedent you set it once and then consistently hold the boundary. I do not know about you but in my day when my father or school teacher told me to do something I did it no questions asked – why because they set the precedent and it was not to be questioned

3. “We focus so much on competence that the senior team never gets emotionally charged up.”

Again, this is a toleration in my mind. I coach leaders to not tolerate ANYTHING in their business, interesting paradigm is it not! What would it look like if you never tolerated anything that was not working in your business? Toleration is a strong word, contextually however it is powerful when you understand the true distinction – my advice in this case, stop tolerating that your leadership team are not consistently engaged, if they are not, then you can be rest assured the rest of your organisation is not!

4. “All we talk about is results, but we don’t change the way we do things.”

Dare I say it again….toleration…they are rife in business today. No one needs give you permission as a leader to stop tolerating what is not working. What specifically do you as the leader want to change? What actions are you taking to have this be a reality? Where’s the plan that clearly outlines the deliverables that are required to make the required changes? Who’s accountable? In what timeframe? It is not rocket science

4. “I find myself talking strategy ’til I’m blue in the face, but my team doesn’t get it.”

I think you have the jist of what I have stated above – toleration! Who are you being as the leader that is tolerating your people not getting what you want them to get – you play a part in this dynamic! Do not tolerate anything less than aligned performance

6. “Some of my best people have left, and no one tells me why.”

And you tolerate this???? You have leaders in roles that are accountable for the human resource aspect of your business. It is their responsibility to flag well in advance if there are any dynamics playing out in your organisation that is impacting your bottom line and staff retention is one of them

7. “A lot of change is happening, but people don’t see how it all fits together.”

It is the leaders responsibility to ensure all parties from the top down are abreast of why change has been implemented, what their self interest is in supporting it, how it is tracking weekly, monthly, quarterly, visibility of traction for the ultimate aim of actualising the benefit of the change process.

I have worked in change management for over 20 years and have an integral understanding of what it takes to sustain that change. I am an advocate of ‘If you are going to invest money into change, at any level, lets make sure it is sustainable’.

So my question I will leave you with today is – what are you currently tolerating in your business that does not serve you or the organisation? Once identified go to work on ensuring these are no longer tolerated!

Copyright (c) 2012 Freefall International

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