Executive Leader Sabotage
Leadership commitment to excellence is foundational to improving organizational performance. An executive leader who is resistant to change, or who agrees during meetings and behaves in conflict with the organization’s new direction afterward is damaging to company culture.
An executive leader that says one thing and does another is subconsciously, or consciously, sabotaging the organization. The organization’s senior executive has a responsibility to align the leadership team, hold them accountable, and address executives who aren’t on board.
The Problem Won't Solve Itself
What Doesn't Work?
It can be difficult to address another leader’s behavior. You’ve likely developed a relationship with this person, know and respect them well. In an attempt to avoid confrontation, senior executives may resort to the following mechanisms that may actually worsen the situation:
- Work-Arounds: Avoid confrontation by finding ways to work around the executive, “Who else can help me get things done?” “How can I just work around this leader?”
- Silence is Acceptance: When the senior leader is unwilling to address the conflict or negative behavior, it continues. The lack of confrontation is acceptance that the behavior is okay – causing a ripple of great dysfunction within the organization.
- Defending the Executive: There are many reasons the senior leader wants to defend the executive. Even though the senior leader knows the behavior isn’t aligned to the new direction, the person could have historical value to the organization and community. They don’t want to rock the boat. Senior leaders spend more time with their executive team, resulting in deeper relationships that create a sense of attachment and fear of hurting those they work with.
Building and sustaining a high performing organization begins with the senior leader motivating and engaging executives who are displaying negative behaviors. In a strong, yet kind, way the executive’s behavior should be addressed right away before they can successfully sabotage the team or organization.
5 Steps to Ending Executive Leader Sabotage
Set Clear Measurable Goals
- Depersonalize the work.
- What are the results that affect the organizations overall performance?
Define Clear Expectations
- Start by explaining why.
- Detail what the right way looks like and specific actions the executive leader should be taking.
Support and Coach Leaders
- Provide the necessary training and coaching to help leaders achieve expectations.
- Consider writing a Performance Plan that includes expectations and time frames to support the executive.
Recognize Positive Changes
- Give acknowledgement if the leader is moving in a positive direction.
- This increases the leader’s confidence.
Address Non-Compliant Behaviors.
- Choose a courageous conversation model for addressing noncompliant executives.