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Inaction is Leadership Ignorance

By November 26, 2019December 5th, 2019Articles

The things you don’t do are more damaging than the things you do in the long term. A simple example of this relates to your health. If you don’t exercise and eat well in the majority then you could suffer the consequences of obesity, or diabetes, or heart disease amongst many other health issues that could occur. It’s what you don’t do to support your health that will hurt you in the long run.

The things that you don’t do in your leadership will do significant damage long term. There are many reasons why leaders don’t do the things they should or need to do. Often this comes back to a fear of stepping outside their comfort zone, a fear of change, a fear of confrontation, a fear that it’s too hard or the belief they don’t have time. So nothing happens and critical issues are not addressed.

What are some examples of these critical issues?

  • Not taking action against a toxic ‘star’ in your organisation.
  • Not challenging mediocrity
  • Not addressing punctuality issues
  • Not providing immediate and timely feedback– both good and bad
  • Ignoring feedback after you’ve asked for it
  • Not addressing poor performance
  • Not challenging excuses like “I’m too busy”
  • Not listening to people’s opinions and ideas
  • Not investing time into coaching your team
  • Not trusting your team

The list could go on but I’m sure you get the drift.

When leaders don’t lead.

By not doing these things you are actually sending a very strong message. The message is that you accepting of all of the above. You accept toxic behaviour, poor performance, mediocrity, the excuse that people are too busy to do what is needed etc

The consequence of lack of leadership is significant damage to an organisation. It damages culture, people and your brand. It creates a vacuum, people become frustrated, disengaged and future buy in is then limited from the team. Why should they get on board, and why would they get on board?

I have worked for leaders who didn’t take the action they should’ve. Who allowed star performers as an example to get away with really poor behaviours – because they made them look good on paper and the chance of a good sized bonus shining brightly basically blinded them. The leaders allowed these star performers to treat people badly, to behave as they wanted and not in line with the culture or values of the organisation as long as they got the results.

The message this sent to the rest of us was a poor one. The consequence of this was some huge turnover in that team. No one wanted to work with a toxic person or a leader who didn’t lead. What made matters worse, when the leader asked for feedback and was told the truth about the toxic individuals, it was ignored. Ignorance at it’s best. And let’s be honest, really dumb leadership.

Soon, we will be facing into a new year and a new decade. This is the perfect time to be checking in on your leadership action and non-action and working out what needs to change in order for you to be the best leader you can be. People are becoming less tolerant of inaction in leaders; they simply don’t have the patience for it. So they take action themselves. Don’t risk valued team members, a supportive culture or your leadership brand for the sake of staying within your comfort zone. The more uncomfortable you are with your leadership the better.