However, I view the responsibilities of executives differently now.
Pushing the envelope will always be how I roll...but being so caught up in covering my ass, or feeding my fragile ego at the expense of the amazing people around me, is just about the biggest sin in the executive bible that I can think of. Yet I've seen it happen all too often.
I Wish I Had One of "Those Jobs"
It's actually pretty easy to be an executive...under one basic premise:
Every single thing,
about every part of the entire organization,
in every circumstance, is perfect in every way,
at every moment.
The rest of the time, it's hard as hell.
Do Your Job
When you consider the "priorities" that many executives focus on, they are often quite far from the reality of successfully operating their companies. Political infighting, building alliances, scolding direct reports for issues that have no real impact on the business but do impact the warped view the executive's have of leadership, all add up to failure.
These massive insecurities result in catastrophic damage:
- loss of credibility for the executive
- loss of focus on the drivers of success (or failure) for the organization
- hours of wasted time addressing the behaviors of executives who have potential, but move down a path that is counterproductive
Is all of this harsh and offensive? Out of touch with reality? Um, no it's not. If I were to spend a few minutes with the leaders who report directly to executives, I would have more than enough "proof."
I've also been hearing it from these same folks (as well as other frustrated executives around them) for years and years...
Oh, where to begin! While it is easy to blame our colleagues across the many organizations we encounter in our careers, that doesn't actually help.
The real opportunity here is for HR to play a far more bold and active role in the operational life of the company.
Some questions to consider as you step up your game:
- When executives get caught up in protecting their position and power instead of focusing on the most important challenges ahead, do you speak up or remain silent?
- When you see high potential leaders being promoted too rapidly, do you speak up or allow it to happen?
- When political agendas start to impact organizational decision making, do you expose it or try to join the club?
How About You
We must be proactive.
We must be internal executive coaches.
We must take control of dysfunctional situations, not just slide into secondary roles.
We must be the executive role models for our junior executive colleagues (regardless of their 'senior' titles) to help them develop into truly effective leaders.
...and we must start today.
I'd love to hear from you.