Dysfunctional Leadership in Times of Crisis
In response to the sequestering of people at home, many organizations are faced with the partial or total loss of revenue. Accordingly, some organizations are taking the steps to terminate, layoff or "furlough" employees.
Specifically, the organization is sending a clear but possibly unintended message: "our survival as a business is more important than your economic distress as an individual or other factor."
These actions will serve to immediately diminish "goodwill" and trust among employees and vendors.
Please note that I am not suggesting that a business should take no action to reduce its costs and cash outflow. Instead the business should look for more creative ways to reduce costs without the consequences of the loss of goodwill and trust. A more creative way to reduce to reduce its costs and cash outflow can only result from a deep dive and systematic assessment using a disciplined planning process that has been described in a previous article.
Types of Leadership Approaches
Although there are many different ways to categorize leadership approaches, we will identify a typology that is appropriate for our purposes in this situation. These are:
· Professional manager: Ready-Aim-Fire
What do we know about the virus? We know that it is:
· Highly transmittable and
· Can cause death.
What don't we know yet about the Virus? Almost everything else, including:
· Its true gestation-period.
· Its duration.
· Why some people get it and others who are presumably exposed apparently do not get it. For example, President Trump has been exposed to people who have the virus but apparently has not been affected by it himself.
· The complete nature of its transmission.
· Its true death rate as well as its death rate for people of varying age groups.
· Who is at most risk for the ultimate consequence of death?
· Do vaccinations for the flu help prevent or reduce the seriousness of the disease?
· Are there existing vaccines or antibiotics (which typically do not kill viruses) able to cure or control it?
The Bottom-line Implications for leadership
Unfortunately, however, the has been a bias against the Professional manager approach for the last few decades. It has been mischaracterized as a bureaucratic approach.
In brief, the call to action of this discussion is to reconsider the virtues and value of a "Ready-Aim-Fire"
This approach is not a panacea. Yet it offers clear advantages over the other approach at the ends of the continuum. The implication of this is that data, analysis, and planning ought to precede decision making and action.
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