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DCI - Leadership Surveys

Over the past several years Darley Consulting Inc. has generated numerous leadership surveys to clients from all walks of life. These surveys were instrumental in the preparation of course material for our tailored courses and were very enlightening to say the least. We typically send surveys to client’s weeks ahead of time where they are answered and returned to us at least three weeks prior to class. This helps us address concerns before candidates walk into the classroom.

You may be surprised to note that there is a consistency of negative trends that permeates each completed survey. 95% of respondents, regardless of education, gender, job title, etc., continue to highlight the same key areas of leadership errors.

A point of clarification before we continue: it is our firm belief that management is the mechanics of process (paperwork, documents, schedules, etc.) and leadership is the business of handling people.

In our attempt at helping you solve leadership problems within your organization, the following is a small sample of one major area of our findings.

The number one issue: Communications.

  • Little to no “real” leadership dialogue exists. What they present (managers, supervisors) as leadership is nothing more than daily chatter regarding office policies and to make sure everyone is nice to each other. This attitude in office management only exacerbates the problem, causes resentment among and between workers which only leads to low morale and new job hunting skills. Good workers will be the first to go.
  • Communication is mostly top down; very little effort in acknowledging bottom up dialogue (“after all, we’re only the little people.”)
  • Managers, supervisors are too busy for employees. Long-winded, useless email is their preference.
  • Mentoring. What is that?
  • Knee-jerk reactions to little problems.
  • Risk aversion. Managers, supervisors are “lawyered-up” and rely heavily on bureaucracy.
  • Managers, supervisors, continue to issue memorandum’s that are laced with double-speak or that are not needed in the first place. There is a time to speak and there is a time to write. The difference is to know when not to do either.

As you may have already gathered, employees’ want to be trusted and recognized as adults and do not want to be on the receiving end of elementary-school or sanctimonious methods. They are professionals and they have a great deal of experience to offer your company; they also do not care about your Alma Mater.

Granted, some of your employee’s may need additional help, mentoring, or whatever device you have in place to rectify personnel issues, and these areas should be addressed immediately—never, ever, let them simmer or you and your company will lose credibility as you pretend not to see problem workers (remember the old adage: hire slow, fire quickly).

When you do not communicate you take the risk of assuming that your personnel automatically understand the issues or agree with your vision or mission statement. One supervisor once noted that he only sends email and rarely speaks to his personnel because, “after all, they get paid to do their job.”

Not communicating with your personnel only puts another nail in the management coffin as you are doing a grave disservice to yourself and to your organization. Slowly but surely you will reap the consequences.

Bottom line: never assume they understand until you have done your job in communicating well.