I have seen many senior leaders whose modus operandi was to ignore a subordinate’s position and responsibilities and try to manage their teams and reports directly and either cut them out entirely from the process or have them as a silent witness to the management of their teams. This is quite frankly divisive, disruptive, and disrespectful as well as being frustrating for the individual involved and will ultimately negatively impact the culture and leadership influence of any company. This topic has been raised to me by several of my candidates recently, so I believe it’s worth exploring here.

    Why would a Senior leader adopt this approach? I believe fundamentally the senior leader in question lacks confidence in themselves and their ability to develop and manage experienced managers and is probably out of their depth or/and has a huge ego, trust issues and is a control freak. They could also have an inferiority complex which could be real or imagined, either way producing the same result.

    The subsequent negative impact on the leadership and working culture of an organization is huge. The more junior manager affected loses all leadership influence over their teams and their managers and therefore their ability to impact the organizations direction, results and culture is significantly reduced. Politicking by individuals within teams then exponentially increases as they spot cracks in the leadership structure and communication avenues.

    Senior leaders who are managing managers need to place trust and confidence in their managers and allow them to lead whilst of course guiding and developing them where necessary and allow their skills, creativity, and experience to flourish which will of course benefit everyone and the company.

    It’s all about watering the flower and making sure it has access to good sunlight, it’s not about treading it down and stamping on it!