Leaders: Five Cases When It Really IS Your Fault

November 11th 2014

Last week, I wrote about toxic team members and the power of inaction. Some readers commented that the thoughts apply to peer relationships, but not to leaders’ behaviors. This is correct.


Leaders, you generally take the heat for everything in your firms. Sometimes it’s not your fault, but being a lightning rod is part of the job description. However, there are areas where you are ultimately responsible. In my view, they are:

  1. Letting team members consistently get away with unproductive, uncivilized, bullying behavior.
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  3. Allowing clients to mistreat team members.
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  5. Permitting partners to manage their teams ineffectively and continuing to excuse their lack of leadership.
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  7. Refusing to recognize changes in cultural and technological trends that can affect your firm.
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  9. Believing that “But we’ve always done it this way” is good business.
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When you’re the boss and you allow any of these things to happen, you deserve all the bad stuff your team is saying about you. Sure, there are always two sides to a story, but I’ve heard far too many stories of leaders who simply refuse to lead. Their excuses vary, but ultimately they’re just excuses. 


As a leader, you are guaranteed to make mistakes. The best advice I can give is: when you make any decision about your firm, remember that your team members are of paramount importance to long-term success. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you. 


leadership, communication, management


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Martha Carnahan
11/12/2014 1:04pm
A+ on this, Melinda! The leader sets the vision... but, equally importantly (and often overlooked), the tone and culture within which the people in the firm do the work. \r\n\r\nThere is an old proverb (adage?) that I will not state exactly right, but it's something like this: When the son curses, punish the father.