HBR Article: The Top Complaints from Employees about Their Leaders

Insiration riding from Chanaz to La MartreWe would like to draw your attention to The Top Complaints from Employees about their Leaders (Lou Solomon, Harvard Business Review, June 24, 2015), which describes major breakdowns in leaders’ communication to direct reports. The New York Times article No Time to Be Nice, which we sent to you recently, highlighted the negative effects a leader’s incivility can have on direct reports. This HBR article discusses incidents that – on the surface – are seemingly benign, but in fact can be as insidious as more obvious forms of poor workplace behavior, particularly as they accumulate. The HBR article supports what we see in our work with leaders: it is often the “little things” that have huge impact.

For example, Sam, a leader in a high tech company, frequently changed his appointments with direct reports, usually without rescheduling, so that he could meet with a customer or his boss. For Sam, this was just expediency; for Sam’s direct report, it was a demoralizing loss or a sign of disrespect. Sam’s direct report said, “The first time he cancelled, I understood he had a conflict. The second and even the third time he did it, it was okay. Today, we talk about it like it’s a joke.” “Let’s plan for lunch, Deborah, I know I am supposed to meet Sam, but you and I both know that isn’t going to happen.” This sends a message that everything else is more important – that information sharing, coaching, and respect for others’ time is unimportant to the leader – and worse yet, to the company. In 360s, we see the results of these communication foibles as “lack of understanding of one’s impact on others.”

We recommend that you consistently ask for feedback regarding your impact. We realize that good people make these kinds of “innocent mistakes,” and that direct reports have a really hard time saying anything about it. However, you can help yourself by monitoring your impact. It doesn’t take much time, and the results are extraordinary. If you haven’t done a 360 in a while, perhaps it is time. Give us a call or send us an email – we will connect you with tools for furthering your understanding of how to grow as a leader and to serve others who rely on your skills.

Transform challenges into opportunities with Executive Coaching Network’s Strategic Executive Coaching

Contact Us Today