"I don't have time for this leadership nonsense"
“Don’t bother me with all this leadership stuff. I can’t worry about what people think about me, I have targets to meet.” This was said to me by someone running a large advertising team at an online media agency.
What managers often fail to grasp is that it’s because you have goals to achieve, the issue of strong leadership is so important. Not investing time and energy in developing leadership qualities has many detrimental effects. Often these effects are difficult to quantify, especially if you don’t know to look out for them.
What are some of the side effects of poor leadership?
1. Employee turnover. This is a high-profile metric companies use to gauge satisfaction; however, I think some of them use it incorrectly. It’s not necessarily about how many employees leave, it’s about how many employees leave, that you would have preferred stay. Even if your company retention numbers are high, maybe the small percentage that are leaving are star performers and or leaders. Be sure to dig down to the second layer of this metric.
2. Apathy and low energy. People will rarely give it their all for a manager who displays poor leadership. This can be viewed through several prisms. A simple (yet not always correct) way to gauge this is walk around the area where a team is sitting. Is there a high energy level? Are people engrossed in their work? Another method for checking is looking for employee driven initiatives. Do employees care about the company enough to drive new initiatives or do they just do their job and go home? Are they posting open positions on social media hoping to entice their friends to join or are they totally apathetic about recruitment? What about breaks? Are they frequent and lengthy? Do employee go off to lunch and seemingly stay out forever. Nobody wants an environment in which a manager is looking over their shoulder, but you can often get a vibe from the energy levels and presence of the employees.
3. Personal agendas. When a manager doesn’t have strong leadership skills and isn’t able to rally their troops around a common goal, often what will happen is that their employees will start to develop personal agendas. They will push their own projects, technology, decisions, even if they aren’t in line with the departments plans.
4. Lack of communication. Great leaders encourage constant open dialogue. With poor leadership team members tend to keep their thoughts to themselves, neglect to share information and slowly build silos around their domain. What gets lost in the shuffle are knowledge sharing opportunities, successes and just generally strong working relationships
5. Panic! This is especially true during difficult times. Managers who fail to communicate can create an atmosphere of anxiety and stress.
6. Your business will ultimately suffer. In the long run, all these things can greatly impact your business. Granted, it might take some time to see the effect, but it will happen.
So, if you find yourself thinking, “I don’t have time for this leadership nonsense” it might be time to rethink your view a little. I’ll be your team and your company wish you made the time!