Articles we love (1): Can you spot a silent organization killer?


A silent organization killer is like an emotionally absent parent who causes developmental trauma to the ones they’re supposed to look after by not showing up properly. It is also hard to identify them, and even competent executives can let their organizations slowly waste away by not doing anything about these absentees who don’t make the effort to show up and lead properly.

Yes, we all know about the overtly incompetent leaders who tend to ‘move away’, ‘move against’ or ‘move toward’. But there is something far more insidious than overtly destructive leaders. The psychologically absent leader, who ‘avoids’ and ‘inacts’ when leadership is needed. These absentees will have far longer-term detrimental effects on subordinates than overly destructive ones, as being ignored is more alienating than being treated poorly. Role-ambiguity, increased stress, health complaints and increased bullying among team members will ensue while the organization’s bottom line dips.

Effective and destructive leaders are easy to identify, while absentee leaders can fly under the radar for years because they don’t actively make trouble. They become low-priority for their superiors even when they are detected, and then their negative effects will stack up over time.

An organization with the best leaders will always win. Playing hardball by eliminating these silent organization killers is one of your best bets to generate a competitive edge, as there’s a good chance that your rivals – at their organizations – are not doing anything about them.

 If you are interested in reading the full source article on HBR, please click here.


mickey feher