Although I don't like focusing on the negative aspect of all situations, I'm reposting this information to keep it close at hand, because I find it could help many evaluate the type of leadership they come across.
5 SIGNS OF CRITICALLY WEAK LEADERSHIP
June 20th, 2011 --- Astra, from Archos Advisors
1) Lack of a clear organizational mission, vision or strategy
During the interview process, can all of your interviewers speak about the mission and vision of the organization? If they pull a card out of their wallet, it is not necessarily a bad sign. Just make sure that they can then tell you how the organization lives up to that mission, and more importantly how they see themselves and your position living up to it as well.
2) Micromanagement or Tyrannical Management
While different types of leaders exhibit different leadership styles, extreme micromanagement or even worse, tyrannical management styles are warning signs of leadership that is having difficulty defining and then executing against the big picture. Unfortunately, this type of management can become contagious within organizations as the lack of a clearly defined strategy or mission impacts more than just the C-level. When interviewing, ask individuals to describe their supervisor’s leadership style. If their leader is truly corrosive, you might not get a straight answer. That is a sign, in and of itself.
3) Poor communication
The inability to communicate is often cited as one of the biggest impediments to organizational success. Successfully sharing ideas, information and inspiration within an organization is increasingly a mark of even middle of the pack leadership. Leaders must not only be effective communicators in their own right, but they must also create an environment that values frictionless communication. Ask your interviewers to describe communication in the organization. Is information shared freely from the top down? Do people say that they often know what they need to know, in a timely fashion? Do they both understand and trust the messages they are getting from leadership? If the answer is no, then perhaps there is a problem.
4)Lack of conflict or corrosive conflict
Understanding how an organization deals with conflict will give you a clear sense of the organization’s leadership. And unless you are working in the military under a command and control structure, conflict should be an innate and integral part of any successful team. Leaders that fear conflict tend to create organizations that lack diverse thinking, or worse, they create passive aggressive behaviors on the part of their frustrated employees. Ask how the organization deals with differences in opinion. What is their model for collaboration and consensus? You want to hear that different voices and opinions are welcome, even though they may create conflict. Even better, if they can report that better outcomes are reached as a result of recognizing different voices you likely have strong leadership in place.
5) Lack of organizational resilience
How does the organization respond to setbacks? Solid leadership recognizes that change and challenge are unavoidable parts of running an organization. Resilient leaders find ways of turning those events into learning opportunities, and eventually competitive advantage. This requires leadership to do more than react to setbacks. Leaders should create a culture that uses even small challenges as opportunities to grow and thrive. Simply inquire about how the organization and its leadership handled its most recent setback.
A couple of additional thoughts.
First, I didn’t bother to include issues such as unethical behavior on the part of the leadership because we were just describing weak leadership, as opposed to illegal or immoral leadership. Second, while this might seem like a lot to ask during the interview process, remember that the presence of adequate leadership in an organization is a good predictor of long-term job satisfaction.
Charles, is the president of Archos Advisors, a strategic leadership and organizational development consultancy. For nearly two decades he has advised clients on applying creativity, innovation and strategic rigor to the task of envisioning and realizing their futures. With experience as a policy analyst, brand planner, business strategist, and research consultant, the core of his work has focused on leveraging the innate capabilities of individuals and organizations to achieve their goals. You can find his company blog at www.archosadivsors.com/blog.
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