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When the Senior Team Doesn’t Want to Lead

Have you ever considered how your business would run without you?

People often ‘joke’ how their work would be much easier without their bosses (or customers). But the reality is the business would soon founder without the direction the Senior Team provide.

Let’s break that down – ‘Senior’ and ‘Team’.  Firstly ‘Senior’ refers to the role, not the technical ability of the person – although the two are usually related.  The Senior Team’s role is to provide direction in ‘WHAT we need to do’ and ‘HOW we need to do it’.

It seems straightforward enough and yet, in our experience, few Senior Team members truly appreciate the impact they have on BOTH the business AND the people.  This impact is highlighted when a Senior Team member, and often a whole Senior Team, are least motivated by the ‘Director’ motivator. That means they do not enjoy actively managing people, in fact they’d prefer to do any of the other eight motivators.  This leads to huge frustration, demotivated and disengaged staff. The lack of desire to keep a consistent ‘hand on the reins’ results in the Senior Team feeling things are getting out of their control. The result – a swift YANK on the reins, perhaps a short period of more regular contact, before reverting back to normal.

Frustration abounds, not least because typically these leaders are both very likeable and well respected – but not for their management style.

This clear demonstration of ‘HOW we need to do it’ impacts hugely on the organisation’s culture. Culture is most easily described as ‘the way things are done around here’. It’s typical in organisations run by Senior Teams who are least or even de-motivated to manage to see a wide variety of performance – with poor behaviour and attitude being allowed to prosper and influence all team members.  The Senior Team’s reluctance to have those difficult conversations and ensure a strong first 90 days for new recruits, often results in three things:

  • People with poor attitude and behaviour stay for longer than they should and ‘poison the well’

  • People with passable attitudes stay – for years, and this starts to become part of the organisation’s culture (the way things are done here)

  • High-performing people leave, or do just enough. Their efforts to do their best being thwarted, particularly in managing poor behaviour.

Of course this is all exacerbated when the Senior Team don’t act as a ‘Team’; when they contradict each other or avoid making a decision ‘as a team’.  A team is not a ‘group of people’, but a ‘single unit’ who pull together and act as one.

High-performance does and must start with the Senior Team in leading both ‘WHAT needs to happen’ and ‘HOW we need to do it’.  Their management style does not need to be authoritative, and indeed shouldn’t, but it does need to be clear AND consistent.  Above all they must walk their talk.  Integrity and Engaging Managers are two of the highest drivers of employee engagement and motivation.  And, therefore, of high-performance cultures.

When the Senior Team are least motivated, or even de-motivated by active management, frustration abounds.  Instead of the ‘great place to work’ they intend to create, poor attitudes are allowed to flourish. Every manager has a management style because of the influence they have.

We can help you choose a management style that works for you AND your team.  We’d start by finding out what motivates you – and it only takes 12 minutes!


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