Use the Form Below to Request Your Whitepaper: The Leadership Bermuda Triangle: Self-defeating behaviors that Kill Good Work

The Leadership Bermuda Triangle: Self-defeating behaviors that Kill Good Work

By Dr. Dan Harrison

Effective leaders drive organizational performance. Factors that interfere with high levels of performance need to be identified and dealt with early and often. The key factors that threaten high performance cultures are managerial permissiveness, lack of clarity, and poor communication skills. Weak management threatens a high performance culture and can kill good work. This white paper explores the factors that can lead to the perfect storm, or Bermuda Triangle, so that you can take action to mitigate this risk in your own organization.

Performance Management Paradoxes

Dave Jensen in The Executive’s Paradox says: “Many of the goals/demands/challenges executives face in our dynamic, hypercompetitive, rapidly changing workplaces are paradoxes – they pull in opposite directions simultaneously.” Indeed the role of the manager is increasingly that of managing paradox effectively. Control costs and grow the business, meet short-term objectives, and innovate for long-term growth, take risks and protect the organization. Performance management is no different in that it calls upon a paradoxical skill set to do it well. Those paradoxes include:

  • Driving – Warmth/Empathy and Enforcing
  • Opinions – Certain and Open/Reflective
  • Power – Assertive of own needs/ Helpful
  • Communication – Frank/Diplomatic

Out-of-balance paradoxes result in forming the Bermuda Triangle of ineffective performance management in which the work gets lost! In other words, manager out of balance in these paradoxes exhibit self-defeating behaviors that undermine their efforts and create poorly performing teams.

The Bermuda Triangle

Given the factors that undermine a leader’s ability to hold others accountable and manage their performance well, consider how the Bermuda Triangle of leadership can form:

  • Low Enforcing/ High Warmth/Empathy — Employee experiences permissiveness (not holding people accountable despite friendliness and caring team atmosphere)
  • Low Certain/ High Open/Reflective – Employee is unsure of the manager’s specific work expectations, despite experiencing the benefits of an open-minded leader who is always willing to listen, or inconclusive behavior.
  • Low Assertive/ High Helpful – Employee is taken care of by the manager and witnesses the manager subjugating his/her own needs and goals because the focus in on helping, doing the work him/herself, rather than empowering, training, and developing the employee or self-sacrificing behavior.
  • Low Frank/ High Diplomatic – Employee experiences evasiveness rather than straight-talk when it comes to accountability; lack of clarity and focus on critical objectives or evasive behavior.

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