Running an Enterprise: 10 things the Leaders shouldn’t do!

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Shouting Management
Shouting Management
  • Can an enterprise be run by just one leader? What should be the limit a CEO should consider when dealing with his team members?
  • In the name of discipline, can the CEO intervene in an employee’s private life apart from their professional engagement?
  • Can the CEO’s erratic and inconsistent behaviour can cause confusion among his team members?

A few days back, I had an opportunity to visit a company, based on the invitation from the Chief Executive Officer. It was good of him to call me to discuss how the company can be taken to the next level. I visited the company enthusiastically taking a few of my books to handover to CEO as a good gesture. In the visit, while in discussion with the CEO and a few of his subordinates, many aspects of things that the Leader shouldn’t do occurred to me. I mention a few of my observations here.

Not Listening

As I entered the room of the CEO, he started with how he started the company, how much struggle he had to do in building the company to this level, about his aspirations and so on. There was no gesture allowing me to introduce myself. During this conversation (monologue), a call came to him on his mobile. I guess it was one of the employees on some issue.

CEO started shouting at the person on the call in a very high pitch, embarrassing me. I could see that the other person on call was not given a chance to talk. He started preaching to me what quality means and areas to work to take the company as world-class. I had to interrupt at the end to allow me to introduce myself and the purpose for which I came.

I know all attitude

In every conversation, he started talking about his knowledge of the technology and before their senior management made a statement that the employees know nothing about the technology, and he has to teach them daily. He also said that every new idea in the company is his own and his people are not capable of coming out with new initiative on their own. Without even opening my book I handed over, he started giving a lecture on the book.

Not respecting the privacy of employees

Each person has their own private life apart from their professional engagement. In the name of discipline, the CEO started a practice, where each of his first level Reporters, has to send a WhatsApp to him daily morning at 5 am. If anyone, does not send, the CEO will take a class before others during the day. CEO said that all should get up early morning, do exercise and then come to the office with energy. I learnt later that some employees have delegated the responsibility to send an early morning message to their spouses. In some meetings, he is seen to give examples of embarrassing female employees.

Being partial

CEO demonstrated repeatedly that his female employees are better than male employees. He had a soft corner for them and encouraged them more at the cost of demotivating qualified male employees. I could see a bias in him that experience outside his company, has no use for the company. He started treating experienced employees with contempt.

Non-clarity

I asked in the first discussion, to specify his areas of focus to take the company to the next level, where I could contribute. He mentioned few areas at the beginning of our discussion and later at the end of 2 hours he started telling totally different things. I could not make out what he wants really. I heard also from employees that he gives different meaning for the same concept each day confusing employees.

Inconsistency

As some of his subordinates told me, the CEO is very erratic in his behaviour. One day he is very friendly with everyone and the next day he will start shouting at them for silly issues. It made it its employees difficult to predict what the CEO does next. He also changes his priority of work almost every day if not every hour. He is seen to give inconsistent messages to employee confusing them about what is right and wrong.

Not respecting employees

Whenever the CEO wants to discuss with the team, he decides immediately, even in cases when there is no urgency and he calls for a meeting without respecting others priorities and time. Many times, this would happen at lunchtime of the employees. In meetings, he snubs senior employees before others by asking silly questions

Not honouring the words

Whenever the CEO talks to a potential candidate showing interest to join the company, he is extremely polite with them and promises many things including freedom for them to bring their ideas. After they join, his wording and attitude towards them is totally different and does not keep up promises made at the time of joining. There is a mismatch between what he proclaims about his company and the ground reality.

All power at one place

Any decision in the company, small or big, has to happen bringing to his notice. He will modify their decisions to suit what he wants and then allows them to move further. Because of this, employees are comfortable listening to instructions than taking any initiatives on their own.

Not taking feedback

At the end of our discussion, he asked me about my observations and where I propose to start next. Having seen his behaviour and inputs from colleagues, I said improvement has to start with him and that I will start spending 1-2 hours with him weekly to explain where he should change. He said yes but his body language was telling a different thing. I could see his reluctance to accept the feedback given by me with the intention of improving the company.

Whenever an employee suggests something, he says yes but would not implement it. Positive things I saw in the CEO was high energy and enthusiasm, always with new ideas, intention to grow and the network. The potential for the company in terms of the product was high to grow. I came out of the company with lessons on leadership and started thinking about where to make a beginning to improve this company.

In the next days, I sent a message that we should meet for 1-2 hours face to face. In this meeting, my plan was to explain the implications of his leadership approach on the people & the business and to agree on how we can work together to change. I anticipated the response to my message. It was silence. Challenge remains on changing a person’s behaviour who is not willing to change.

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