Yesterday I had the misfortune of seeing 10 minutes of question time in Federal Parliament. This, very definitely, is not something I normally do. One side puts a perspective forward amid much over yelling from the other side, the speaker tries, with little success, to ensure the message is heard and then the questions, or should I say accusations start. So these are our most senior leaders at work, depressing I thought. The objective was to compete rather than collaborate.
Is this the same with senior leaders in the business world? At least in parliament everyone is open about being on different sides. In business what percentage of a senior leaders time is spent protecting their own brand, undermining the brand of others and then actually working on the needs of the business?
It is a fine line between being politically savvy in order to achieve business needs versus being politically savvy just to achieve ones own needs. Again the answer lies in the motivation of our leaders. Do they want to climb the ladder simply to be powerful or do they want to get to the top so they are in the best position to make a positive difference?
Both in business and in politics too often we fail to consider the motivations of our leaders. No one wants to be led, especially in challenging times, by someone who puts themselves, and their survival/success first. Yes you need driven people who are motivated by success to drive performance. However if a leader puts their own needs and aspirations ahead of the company, sooner or later, they are going to make a decision that has significant ramifications for the company and the more senior the leader the more catastrophic those ramifications can be. In my experience those leaders who put themselves above the company also have a knack of moving onto to their next role before things go bang.
Therefore find out what motivates your up and coming leaders and weed out those who put themselves before the company. No single leader has all the answers, make sure your senior leaders operate as the sum of their intellectual parts and don’t behave like a bunch of politicians.