Monday, November 8, 2010

There's No "I" In Team, But There Is In "Fired"

I have been blessed over the years to work with some brilliant minds.  Leaders who are far more accomplished and insightful than I can ever wish to be.  As I’ve (hopefully) grown in my leadership style, I’ve become painfully aware that without those bright people around me, helping me, guiding me, and often times working for me, my success is in jeopardy.


Getting to this realization is a painful journey.  As leaders, don’t we feel powerful, and start to believe our own self-talk that “our way is the best way?”  After all, I’m the boss, right?  A risky perspective at best.  Why is it that over and over again I see leaders who fail to use the talents of the people around them?  It seems to me they are insecure.  Dr. John Maxwell effectively describes the risks of being an insecure leader and how that approach could be their downfall.


Far too often we see leaders that are allowed to stay on; or worse, a revolving door of employees who feel they don’t have a voice and walk out the door.  None of us can afford to lose good staff.  Ever.  More and more we see organizations breaking through the traditional barriers of complacency and holding leaders, even senior leaders accountable.  Isn’t that our job as HR professionals anyway?  Aren’t we supposed to drive the accountability agenda?

When we step-up and make bold moves to remove failing leaders, we send a powerful message to our colleagues, employees and customers that those behaviors are simply not acceptable.


How have you dealt with the leaders who believe they are the smartest person in the room?  Have you been able to support them through executive coaching, constructive feedback, or formal discipline?  Or, are they sitting in the office next to yours, wondering why your organization is full of imbeciles?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


  1. I think at some point we have all expereinced this syndrome. These are often the same people who feel that if they left the organization would perish - NOT! Love the title, kee p it coming! (And for the record I think that Mike Keenan was this type of leader.)

  2. Nice post Jay. Brining back memories! They are all around and will forever be there. That's why our job in HR is to get rid of them so that we can inspire. Those "smart" leader stopped listening to anyone except themselves. They will implode.

  3. Thank you Dave and Peter. I guess this post had me venting a bit, but it seems to me the notion of the accountability agenda rests squarely on our shoulders in HR. Many thanks for the feedback! (I think John Tortorella has some of those Keenan tendendcies too!)

  4. No wonder your teams do so well - here's what we found at Profile's:
    Not having leadership bench-strength to execute new strategies has emerged as a major barrier to growth for many companies. According to a Conference Board survey of businesses around the globe, only 36% rated their overall leadership capacity to execute their strategy as good or excellent, down from 50% a few years earlier. In a separate survey by McKinsey and Co., only 7 percent of the 6,900 managers surveyed believed their companies had enough talented managers to pursue their most promising growth opportunities.

    “What wakes me up in the middle of the night is not what might happen to the economy or what it is competitors might do next; it is worry about whether we have the leadership capacity and talent to implement new and more complex global strategies.”
    -David Whitman, former Chairman, President and CEO Whirlpool Cooperation

    The question for most companies is no longer whether or not to invest in leadership development; it is how to create a system that ensures:
    · Development of leaders at all levels of the
    · Improved leadership for meeting today’s challenges
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