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When Our Top Executives Don’t Live Up


As Leaders,

We Should Prevent It

We know we have some great talent. As leaders, a big part of our role is making sure we’ve retained top talent. Even if we’re caught up in the flight of acquiring and retaining human capital, I’m willing to bet – most, if not all of us have some impressive executives on our team.

One of the top incentives for employees is the opportunity for growth – the recognition of a job well done and the occasion to be groomed for future advancement. On the same note, we also recognize that change isn’t always well received and it isn’t always easy.

Since difficulty handling change is one of the top reasons our executives derail, it’s no surprise that the second top reason that executives fail is they simply aren’t good team players. I know – that is a hefty statement. For an executive who is struggling  with managing change, dealing with interpersonal relationships with his colleagues and direct reports is like adding fuel to the fire.

It all points back to leadership. The finger points back at us. Yes, I agree that our executives should have a handle on their ability to handle workplace relationships; they certainly should be able to work well with their team. But if they aren’t – we should know about it. We should definitely know about it before they completely derail.

I was chatting with a client of mine last week who is facing this issue with a contractor. The project manager lacks some of these foundational skills and guess what? It’s making life a lot harder on everyone involved in this huge oil rig project. This project manager certainly isn’t doing anyone any favors. His leader should be well aware of this.

Provide the support your executives need. In situations dealing with our executives, take advantage of the fact that you’ve recognized signs and symptoms. Consider the importance of incorporating a culture of coaching in the workplace. When I say culture, I mean – ‘norm’. When our teams, direct reports, and employees know that coaching is part of our workplace, they come to rely on it. It’s like a security blanket that ensures them that the opportunity to be groomed is there.

In turn, their interest spikes. If they are lacking some of these foundational skills like working well with their peers and subordinates or managing change effectively, it’s amazing to watch how well they respond when they discover that any lack of skill in these areas aren’t going to be labeled as factors keeping them from qualifying for promotions. Quite the opposite – when they know they are supported, they are more likely to jump on board and do what it takes to improve these skills.

Take heed when studies show that 88% of executive effectiveness is increased when training efforts are followed up with a culture of coaching. Click here to read more about common behaviors that derail executives careers.