Leadership Coaching and Development: Unashamedly political, I spend a lot of time in my life and my work defining what constitutes ‘good leadership’. I don’t believe that our government is exhibiting any of the traits I seek. Let’s take a look at the current political circumstances as if you were running a business shall we and see if it makes any sense through a different lens? The CEO of a business decides to opt out of the Breakfast networking meeting she had been attending for a few decades. The meeting was was costly in time and money. She believed she could do business just as well without this expenditure. To appear democratic she gave all the staff a vote on whether the membership should continue or not. What she didn’t say was that she hadn’t fully researched the consequences of doing so…
As she didn’t want to get up at 6 am on a weekly basis any more she did slightly skew the information she shared…The vote was taken. And it was, oddly enough, the result she wanted that met her need for a lie-in. She consulted on that consequences of withdrawal from the meeting. The more she asked the more she realised how much she and the organisation would lose. Other employees of the organisation also began to speak out about the potential losses. The CEO began to worry but asserted that “the people had spoken and the exit will continue” . She asserted that she was “acting in their service” and thus they would leave anyway. It became more and more evident that this manoeuvre would be catastrophic for the business. That trade would be compromised, jobs would be lost, poverty created. It became clear that it would take years to re-navigate the existing agreements that came as standard with the existing membership. This is where good leadership could come in…
The CEO could be honest and, with humility and in best service of her employees, she could say ‘having found out more about this situation, I don’t believe you had the full picture when you voted. I would like to share what we have found out & you can vote again. If you still feel the same, vote the same and we will do what it is you wish” In possession of all the facts, the employees realised that oncoming disaster, the lives at risk and voted that their CEO stay at the breakfast networking meeting. This meeting providing a huge return for the CEOs investment in time and money for her company. This was the CEO with honesty, humility and transparency.
This is the company that survived.
The second company CEO reasserted over and over and over that ‘the people had spoken and the exit would continue….”. “The people have spoken and the exit will continue” was her response even when a majority of the people, with the information they were gathering, were saying they now disagreed. The exit continued. The CEO got her lie-in. The company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for 15 years as all the individual trade agreements were re-navigated, There were many redundancies. The quality of the product fell and the goodwill surrounding the organisation fell through the floor. This is the CEO who was ego-led, stubborn, self-centered and pig-headed.
This is the company that barely survived.
That’s my future prediction. Thoughts?