I was horrified to hear this story recently from a friend about their organisation. It really got me thinking about how leaders need to have the courage of their convictions and is a perfect example of how a lack of trust can destroy a whole culture.
What happened is that the leader in question played robbing Peter to pay Paul with departments, swapping some departments from one director to another. What is wrong with that you may ask? Nothing, if the leader in question has actually bothered to tell the director who was losing the departments before it happened.
What causes a leader to behave like that? Have they managed to get to such a senior position and remain completely clueless about how to deal with members of their team? Or did they know what they were doing was wrong and were just too cowardly to have that challenging conversation? I guess I’ll never know…
The thing is that not only has this leader damaged relations with every single member of their team, like many companies this organisation is looking to change the culture and ensure that its values and behaviours are lived by every employee. Yet, if the person at the top doesn’t treat their team members with the most basic of respect, how can they expect other employees to believe that the values are anything more than a lipstick PR exercise?
The decision to move the departments may have been a sound one, but the method in which it was carried out has cast a cloud over the leader’s motivations and actions from now on. Any money this organisation spends on attempting to engage employees or change the culture may as well be thrown down the toilet.
This is why one of my principles of peak performance is ‘making teamwork and collaboration work’. This may sound simple, yet it requires openness, honesty and most importantly integrity and courage. This applies not just to senior leaders in an organisation but to every manager.