When the bottleneck is a senior leader

Petty drama is always a sign that there’s a lack of trust. On the surface, it almost always seems that the trust issues are between employees, but the root is almost always top leadership misalignment and lack of conflict capacity.

When I get called to do a workshop or a coaching for one “troublemaker” the real issue goes unresolved. The reality that no one has the courage to say: The bottleneck is at the top of the bottle. Here’s one example.

Two Conversations Being Avoided

An executive allowed a toxic employee to continue to work for her because she was afraid her decision to terminate would not be supported by her CEO. So rather than get the support she needed, she avoided a conversation with her own boss and let the toxicity continue.

Can you see here that there were at least two conversations being avoided? One conversation was the executive that allowed toxic behavior from an employee, in other words downward communication. The other conversation being avoided was upward communication (getting support from her boss.)

In this situation everyone else knew what was going on, but no one had the courage to confront.

High-level leaders often assume that the leaders they hire to manage under them will have the skill sets to manage conflict. Very often they don’t.

If you’re facing a challenge like this, reach out. I can help.
Marlene Chism