By Chris Gandy
One of the great side benefits of not for profit leadership recruitment is that the process provides a wonderful window into the current state of leadership in the sector.
As you chat with candidates they often open up about why they are looking to move from their current roles. Typically I find the principal reason people are seeking a change is not to pursue more money, status or power but a reaction to the way they are being managed and developed.
Julie, a candidate I met with earlier this week really nailed this when she explained the reasons why she was looking to move on from her current position.
You could tell Julie had a great affinity with her organisation’s cause, enjoyed working with her colleagues and had a high degree of respect for her boss. Problem is, she went on to say…
“I am going nowhere. My CEO is continually blocking me from developing my leadership skills – and I really don’t think she knows she is doing it”.
Julie went on to describe three of her bosses behaviours that she felt were stifling her leadership development in her organisation:
- Everyone is wonderful: According to Julie her CEO “gushes over everyone” even when they simply do what is expected of them. “Fantastic work guys is her catch phrase for simply turning the light on”. In the end no-one is motivated to do anymore than expected because their efforts, whether exemplary or ordinary, elicit the same response.
- Failure isn’t allowed: The CEO apparently loves being the super hero who steps in and saves the day. Consequently no-one is able to learn from their mistakes or averting one at the last minute. The other result of this behaviour is that people’s self-confidence is inevitably shot.
- Job performance = ability to lead: This one seemed to have the biggest impact on Julie. She recounted numerous cases in the organisation where the CEO had promoted people into leadership roles, in her view, purely on the basis of their high performance and with a complete disregard of leadership skills or lack there of.
One of the core responsibilities of senior leaders is to do all they can to develop the organisation’s next generation of leaders. Julie’s boss is going to find this difficult if she – isn’t ready to let people taste failure, can’t recognise the difference between good and great and understand that a gun performer may not be able to, or interested in, leading others.
Are your behaviours blocking your people’s leadership development?
About Chris: Chris Gandy is the founder and a director of Cause and Effective – a provider of contingent resourcing and leadership search services to cause-based organisations.