Leave Your Sins Behind

Here’s a simple but painful truth: abrasive leadership persists only because organizations allow it to.

If you have an abrasive leader in your midst, you already know that this person’s harsh interpersonal conduct triggers distress in people and the work environment. And yet, this abrasive leader is likely unaware of the damage that he or she cause and the risks that the behaviour poses — these matters are situated in his or her blind spot. And as long as things remain safely lodged in that blind spot, the person’s behaviour cannot and will not change.

But the abrasive leader is not the only one suffering from Blind Spot Disease. Your organization might be equally guilty of turning a blind eye and committing other ‘sins‘, as well as making persistent mistakes in managing this leader. All these, in turn, enable and entrench the behaviour.

If you’re feeling increasingly discouraged as you read this, please don’t. There’s some good news too.  Once an abrasive leader becomes aware of the effect that his or her behaviour actually has, change is more likely to happen. And once your organization resolves to take a firm stand on the matter, the chances of that change actually happening are exponentially higher.

Take a look: in your own organization, how well do you fair in having in place systems to prevent abrasive behaviour in the first place, or deal with it once it occurs? If you’re not sure, I invite you to assess your organization’s capacity to prevent and address leaders’ harsh interpersonal conduct by checking out our (free) Abrasive Leaders Organizational Actions Checklist. Hopefully, once you complete the tool and take time to reflect on the results, you will emerge confident that as an organization, you are well equipped to deal with any problem behaviour that may emerge. If not, and if you have a specific leader whose interpersonal conduct is of concern, you might want to assess the risks it poses. To do so, visit our Abrasive Leader Risk Assessment tool (also free) – you may find it enlightening.

Whatever you find, if there’s any feedback or insights your like to share (or if your organization needs assistance and would like to explore whether our REAL™ Solutions for Abrasive Leaders could be helpful), please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.


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