The Consequences of Unaware Leadership

The above title for this blog is a bit of a mouthful so you may want to read it a few times; the consequences of unaware leadership.

Another way to say this is the consequences of a leader’s actions/words work many times against them and they have no idea.

So here is the point:   Employees are a helluva lot more interested in pleasing their boss than they are the customer.

Are you surprised? Don’t think it is true? I bet you lunch for a year in many of the organizations I walk into I can find examples of this happening. The needs of the boss become more important than serving the needs of the customer. I scratch my head every time I see this and when it affects the work that we do, I want to scream.

You see, I am like everyone else. I like to be respected and appreciated. I appreciate having my instructions followed and to be listened to.  I like to think I am a pretty good manager and leader,  however, when team members become more concerned about keeping me happy at the expense of satisfying the customer, we are heading towards a nightmare.

In one of our client companies a few years ago, the president prided himself on running a very lean management team. When his department heads periodically had too much work, they would not bring this to his attention and just soldier through it. Their response to customers would lag, and they would not respond when promised and the customers would be annoyed.  Not enough to leave or complain just enough to be annoyed and put out. Just enough of an aggravation that they start taking our competitor’s calls. In another example, one of our clients lost one of the biggest customers we had ever landed. This one cost our customer tens of millions of dollars in sales. The person managing our new customer was extremely deferential to his boss and would go out of his way to shielded him from bad news. If his boss was upset with a customer, he would try to solve the problem only taking the company’s perspective and ignoring the customer’s interest. He avoided problems and did not address them when they were laid right in front of him.  It did not take long for the new customer to dismiss us.

In both of these examples, the boss never had an idea that their management wasn’t working. Not once did it dawn on the boss that their management style may have had something to do with these problems.

Our management style and approach has positive and possibly negative affects. Being unaware of the consequences of your leadership is a recipe to continue to have the same problem.

Leadership, LeanDennis Sweeny