In Part I of this series, we looked at the major performance issues and behaviors that can cost leaders their jobs. But there are other behaviors and actions that can be equally potent in the demise of leaders. These five career-killers apply to leaders, at every level, but especially to those at the top of an organization. These additional behaviors are extremely detrimental and those of us who advise senior leaders need to be watchful, mindful and willing to stand up and speak out when we detect these behaviors occurring.
Like the previous list, these behaviors are easily understood and recognized, but often extremely frustrating and difficult to challenge and deal with. They include:
1. Silence: This is the most toxic effort to take in a situation, but especially in crises with victims. There is no rational or believable explanation for remaining silent in the face of trouble when you are a leader. Regardless of what your lawyer says, leaders are expected to speak and act like leaders. In fact, most crucial decisions in an organization’s operations are far more likely to be leadership decisions then they are to be legal decisions. Nobody cares what the lawyers say; those affected only care about what leaders are doing and talking about.
2. Testosterosis: This involves lashing out at anyone nearby; it’s hitting back rather than communicating and working through the issues and problems that the organization or leader faces. In business school you are taught that the best decisions and most important ideas come through the conflict of ideas, intellect and opinions. This is simply not true. No one cares what the reasons are that you did or didn’t do something; they’re interested in how you treated the victims and how you resolved the problem....
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