Edit ModuleShow Tags

Can Your Company Thrive with a Weak CEO?

How the strength of leadership has a ripple effect


Published:

Can your company culture function and be successful under weak management?

Not for long.

Once a company decides where it’s going and why customers will buy from it versus its competition (vision and strategy), the next big question is how to align a strong team in pursuit of those objectives.

For eons, managers and HR departments have focused on creating dream teams with star players — individuals who have high technical skills. Decades ago, an understanding developed that emotional intelligence was just as important for many positions as traditional intelligence and technical skill. The brilliant engineer who ends up in a management role but doesn’t know how to talk to people is the model for failure that HR was trying to avoid. And it was correct about this.

However, one step beyond this is the environment in which all of those people must work — the “culture,” or the product of the behaviors you allow and reward. What’s required for a group of highly competent individuals with high emotional intelligence to succeed? A great leader. Not necessarily highly technically competent, but one who knows how to create the environment for that dream team to succeed.

The challenge is that some of the behavior and practices that foster success aren’t natural; they take hard work. Focused hard work on how the team works, not on the work itself.

The likelihood that trust, candor, psychological safety, participation and accountability will all occur without intervention (i.e. leadership) is infinitesimal. You must create that environment and work hard to retain it. That means that as a leader, you focus as much on how issues are addressed as on the issue itself. You must encourage participation. You must reward admitting mistakes. You must model and stimulate healthy disagreement.

Perhaps there are natural born leaders, but the successful ones with whom I’ve interacted studied the science of leadership and focused on building the right processes within their organization. It wasn’t luck, and it wasn’t natural. We aren’t naturally vulnerable enough to admit our mistakes. We naturally avoid conflict. We naturally let the loud guy talk too much. We naturally avoid the hard issues.

Companies can have financial success for the short term with a weak CEO, but over the long haul, competency and the right behavior at the top are required for a team to optimize its performance.

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is president of Applied Strategy®. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Todd is the author of Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing, 2016). Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, call 303-527-0417 or email todd@toddordal.com.

Get more content like this: Subscribe to the magazine | Sign up for our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Made in Colorado: Great Stuff for the Great Outdoors

Derek Weber cut the top off of an old van in a Greeley junkyard with a Sawzall in 2008 to make his first camper van. He started Colorado Camper Van the next year and started adding pop-tops to customers’ vans and decking out the interiors.

Colorado Campgrounds Glitz Up the Great Outdoors

Popularized in the last decade, glamping describes a style of camping amenities allowing campers to immerse themselves in the great outdoors without actually having to rough it. While the term glamping means different things in different contexts, glampgrounds are united via unusual accommodations.

Should You Accept a Counteroffer?

You’ve been offered another job and plan to give your notice soon. But you’re hesitating because you know your current employer won’t take the news well and might extend a counteroffer. If that happens, how should you respond?
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags