Institute of Corporate Directors
Management white paper (Are you sure of your leadership)
This paper provides managers and leaders with the necessary information to implement a cure
for poor organizational performance and its negative workplace politics. The paper addresses the
following subject areas: 1. Leadership and Performance; 2. Strategic Alignment; 3. Performance
Diagnoses Checklist; 4. Bad Politics and Performance Risks; 5. Treatment Challenges; 6. Best
Practices for Curing Bad Politics
1. Leadership and Performance
The subject of leadership has been greatly covered by scholars, academicians and consultants,
yet building high-performance teams remains ...view middle of the document...
Are your teams strategically aligned?
3. Performance Diagnosis Checklist
Even fast-growing and profitable companies can develop bad internal politics and unproductive
work habits that will eventually lead to declining performance. It is true that the larger
theorganization, the more susceptible it is to the breakdown of communication, the emergence of
management silos and misalignment. Yet, in my experience many of the smaller companies also
suffer from similar problems. When management tends to focus so much on one management
area, e.g., sales, and has no time to manage the internal organization challenges, dysfunction
creeps in and takes hold. To build and sustain high-performance teams, leadership and human
resources managers should keep an eye open for the following symptoms and treat the root
causes before it becomes too late.
Dysfunctional leadership symptoms and warning signs:
Dictatorial Leadership: Management that does not allow disagreements out of insecurity
No 360 Degrees Feedback: There is limited or no leadership performance feedback.
Personal Agendas: Recruitments, selections and promotions are based on internal
political agenda, for example hiring friends to guarantee personal loyalty at the expense
of other highly performing and more-qualified employees.
Political Compensation: Stock options, bonuses and perks are not fairly linked to
Inefficient Use of Resources: Budgets are allocated between business units or
departments based on favoritism and power centers rather than actual business needs.
Empire-building Practices: Managers believe that the more people they manage and the
bigger the budget, the higher the chance that they will be promoted. This results in raging
battles around budgets, strategies and operations.
Unequal Workload Distribution: You'll find some departments are underutilized while
other departments are overloaded.
Too Much Management: There are many management layers in the organization, thus,
hindering communication and resulting in slower execution.
Fragmented Organization Efforts: Interdepartmental competition and turf wars between
rival managers lead to the emergence of silos, which results in communication gaps.
Management silos almost always result in fragmented and duplicated budgets and
projects, thus wasting valuable company investments.
Too Much Talk: Plans are heavy on talk but light on action. In a political corporate
culture, image management becomes far more important than actions.
Ineffective Meetings: Argumentative and heated cross-divisions meetings with discussion
and language focusing on point scoring and buck-passing rather than sharing
responsibility and collaborating to solve the problem
Lack of Collaboration: Every person for himself/herself. Low sense of unity or
camaraderie on the team. The key criterion for decision-making is What is in it...