26/10/2020

5 signs your leaders are failing – and what to do about it

leaders

Great leadership fuels successful companies. By the same token, failing leadership can be catastrophic. These five signs could signify your own leaders are failing – but there are still things you can do to help turn the company around.

They never know what’s happening

Nobody has all the facts, but a good leader should possess at least most of them and kept in the loop about critical decisions and happenings within the company. If they’re always the last one to find out, that suggests that they are not particularly trusted or simply disengaged from the business.

There could be many reasons why your leaders have suddenly stopped being in possession of the key facts. Perhaps they are terrible at taking bad news, or maybe it is a more complex issue than they are able to process.

They are unwilling to change

The ability to remain flexible is an essential part of running a company successfully, so if you notice your leaders have lost this skill, then leadership is on a downward slide. In some cases, this shift will be redeemable. Your leadership may be capable of again changing and reverting to their more effective and dynamic selves.

However, it is all too easy to become stuck in a cycle of repetitiveness, and it has a hugely damaging effect on businesses. If your leaders have stopped being willing to change, then you are right to be concerned.

They like ‘yes men’

Surrounding yourself with people who never tell you no is terrible for the long-term success of a company. It is vital to hear some of the more unpopular opinions, and to allow room for people who think a little differently.

If you notice that your leaders are rarely told ‘no’, and seem to prefer it this way, then this is a red flag.

They reject all suggestions

Being a leader of course means that you get the final say in what happens within the business. This should not be construed as the only opinion which matters, however. Feedback is an essential part of good business sense. It allows leaders to feed off the knowledge of others and get fresh perspectives which they may otherwise never see.

If your leaders are suddenly acting as though they are the cleverest person around, then again you have every right to be worried.

They’re bad at hiring people

Hiring the best people for the job is an essential part of good leadership. In many cases, this means you’ll be hiring people who are better at you in at least one area. Great leaders are not intimidated by this. Poor leaders are. If you notice they never hire anyone cleverer than they are, this is another red flag.

What should you do?

If your leaders are failing, there are several options open to you. Depending on your relationship with the leader in question, you may even wish to mention any specific problems in person or ask if there are any issues you can assist with. While formality is often the way to go in these circumstances, the personal touch may also give them a perspective they otherwise lack. Another option would be to formalise a plan for improvement through feedback sessions and reviews or, arrange for executive coaching or professional development sessions.


Also published on Medium.

Written by
Scott Dylan
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Scott Dylan

I’m Scott Dylan, Fresh Thinking Group Founder and Partner. I oversee the strategic direction of the company, which I created to help, acquire and invest in both distressed and viable companies together with helping businesses improve their business processes and setting strategic directions.