Leadership behaviour is crucial. Many strategy execution efforts are slowed down or even killed by bad leadership behaviour.
Bad leadership behaviour kills performance.
But there’s an upside as well.
I believe recognizing bad leadership behaviour offers us a very useful career guide.
So take advantage of all those bad leaders out there and develop opposite leadership behaviour.
Bad leadership behaviour – 22 examples from the strategy tourist
1. In all things, focus on yourself first. You are more important than the organisation you work for.
2. Create diversions when things get difficult. How? Get a consultant on board, preferable a firm with a good reputation, and launch a new strategy.
3. If things still don’t improve , blame it on the consultant.
4. Develop your power play skills and use them as often as you can.
5. Surround yourself with people less smart than yourself.
6. Don’t support hero promotions. High-quality people can make your life miserable when they get into key jobs.
7. Change jobs regularly to outrun major execution challenges.
8. Once you arrive in your new job, tell everyone how bad you predecessor did and start from zero (preferably with a consultant). This buys you at least a year.
9. Focus obsessively on the short run. Go for quick wins that put you in the spotlight. Define long term “something we can focus on once the basics are in place”. This buys you another year.
10. Create walls between departments. Promote ‘Us against Them’. It creates a great diversion from the real issues.
11. Keep crucial knowledge close to you. Avoid sharing or, if you have no other option, do share and tell everyone how important knowledge diffusion is. At least you get some benefit.
12. Compromise over the important company issues, but dig in and fight forever over smaller topics that are important for you and your career.
13. Learn to identify other tourists and bond as hard as you can. Long lunches are ideal: they are effective and enjoyable.
14. Inflate budgets. This gives you enough money to fund you pet projects or cut costs without any effort when you are forced to do so.
15. Fervishly promote work-life balance. It’s a popular topic and it gives you a ligitimate reason to go to the golf course when the sun is shining or quit at 5 PM.
16. Take lot’s of time to promote yourself and actively campaign for a better job.
17. Blame the market, other departments or poor IT-systems for the fact that you are not taking brave, independent action.
18. Always take credit for the work your team did. Never take the blame.
19. Try to join as many steering committees as possible, but avoid taking on responsability as a sponsor or project manager.
20. When a difficult problem shows up, turn it into a project and delegate this to an eager hero in another department. Call it a learning experience or talent exchange. When the project is finished, make sure the person gets a promotion to a job far away from your territory. They might know to much.
21. Learn to outlast passionate resistance from heroes by quietly ignoring it and waiting for it to go away.
22. Develop a good headhunter network and take advantage of your contacts when you feel that you cannot outrun the heroes anymore. Start again, but much wiser, in another company.
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