I was a guest on talk radio today as part of a panel discussing leadership. The topic was Where Have All the Leaders Gone? The discussion was lively and a lot of attention was focused on why leaders behave badly. More specifically, we asked the question, does the end justify the means? Why is it that most organizations frown on bad behavior, yet reward those who exhibit it when they produce results? On the flip side, is it wise to reward “good” behavior, without looking at results?
The panelists all had great perspectives. What I contributed was that leadership needs to be pragmatic. Let’s be realistic. The focus of leadership is all about results. If there is no end point, why do you need a leader? So, results is a big part of the game. No results. No reward.
On the other hand, results + bad behavior should not be tolerated. At all. If bad behavior is allowed to go on unchecked for any length of time, there is a problem in the organization. In a leadership driven organization, there should never be someone who leads a successful project through bullying or unethical behavior. A person displaying these characteristics should have been removed far before the project was completed. So, just the fact that you are rewarding someone for a job well done, while behaving badly, says that leadership is missing from the executive ranks of the organization.
So how do you get results AND good behavior? Simple. An organization needs to decide what is more important, results, or behavior. I would argue that an organization worth working for, focuses on both. If an organization, more specifically, those in the C Suite, the executives, commit to being a leadership driven organization, great things can be achieved. This may mean letting some people who produce results… go. You cannot espouse leadership and teamwork, yet let someone who behaves badly, stick around just because they’re good at getting things done.
Bottom line – there is a balance between results and behavior. It is those that have both that should be rewarded.
All the best!
All the time!
- New Ways to Promote Company Culture (brighthub.com)
- Leadership and Culture – Take it from the Top (brandimpact.wordpress.com)