I’ve witnessed too many situations where a weak leader at the top has a negative cascading effect throughout the whole organization.

If the top person – whether that be a board chair, president or even department manager – is insecure, they surround themselves with people who don’t threaten them or appear to be brighter than they are. The result is that the incompetence permeates the org chart, with people who are not strong occupying more and more of the positions. And when the incompetence results in policies and practices that defy logic, the good people become frustrated and are either pushed out or leave voluntarily. Either way, the organization suffers.

When you’re interviewing at a company, pay attention to the philosophy of the head honcho, even if you’re several layers removed. Whether intentionally or by default, their priorities trickle down to everyone and their values dictate the actions of the whole organization. And if you find yourself in an existing position with a leadership change, assess the situation early on. A once-great organization can crumble with someone new at the helm and it may be prudent for you to move on instead of hoping the place you loved can survive the turmoil.

Leadership matters. And lack of leadership may matter more.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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