A VP who refuses to “babysit”

A common theme I hear from senior level leaders is, “I shouldn’t have to babysit.”

I translate this to mean, “I’m not going to concern myself with lower-level conflict because I’ve hired people to deal with that.”

But what if your refusal to address conflict causes even bigger problems? And, what if the very person you think is handling conflict can’t handle conflict because you refuse to support them?

A Vice President Who Refuses to “Babysit.”

A consultant was hired by a VP to manage an important project that included managing a group of directors. The problem is that one particular director blatantly refused to work with the consultant, going so far to put his decision in writing!

No matter how many attempts the consultant made to initiate a conversation, this director refused to talk, engage, or respond. The consultant went to the VP who hired her, and the VP refused to back the consultant on the project.

Ultimately this decision tied the hands of the consultant and she had to quit the project. Think about the wasted time, energy and effort!

Both of these examples point to a lack of conflict capacity at the top as well as executive misalignment. If the top level can’t manage conflict with each other, what do they expect from the middle and lower levels of leadership?

Executive actions lead to a culture of accountability or a culture of avoidance. If you want a quick way to assess your culture, take my Culture of Avoidance Assessment here.

Truth Bomb: Very often the bottleneck is a senior level executive. The issue is power structure and culture, very difficult to fix by asking for a workshop for the worker-bees or coaching for the person stuck in the middle.

When leaders (at any level) avoid conflict hey create a ripple effect of interpersonal problems that affect productivity, well-being, and organizational results.

Help is just a phone call away. Reach out and let’s talk.

Marlene Chism