|Leadership: When performance deteriorates or performance objectives are not met, it is
common for a negative chain of reactions to be triggered. In both cases, the leader faces
the challenge to have to change the way things have been done up to now. If not able to
remain centered, the leader easily moves into discomfort, worry, fear and then negative
behaviors: giving instructions without explaining them, putting down people,
micro-managing, displaying increasing frustration and even anger.
Culture: The leader's negative behavior stresses the culture, moving interactions from
openness to fear and distrust around the handling of breakdowns, etc. A general pattern
of avoidance and self-protections develops.
Processes: The cumulative effect of negative behaviors in leaders and employees affects
how things get done. Breakdowns are not addressed because it is too stressful to do so.
No more bad news! Quality, follow-through, interactions with customers, suppliers and
others parts of the organization suffer. Greater attention is placed on justifying one's
actions and responsibilities rather than the overall mission/commitment of the team or
Strategy: When performance and results decline significantly, expediency takes over from
the organization's laid-out strategy. Strategic values are abandoned for short-term
results. Management often shifts to what they can implement alone, such as cost
reductions. Leadership zig-zags from one short initiative to the next. As the connection of
every day decisions to strategy becomes strained, individuals understand less and less
what is going on and what matters. As decisions become less coherent, how they are
perceived impacts employee motivation and capacity. Control of operations over-rides
customer service. Directive management supersedes coordination and collaboration.
A negative performance cycle has taken root. The challenge for the leader is how to
interrupt it by finding a new way to lead.