Hidden signs of leadership failure

If you hired a top executive to lead the sales and marketing efforts at your company, and 6 months in, if you realize that she has failed, who is to blame?

Ben Horowitz writes about how if a company recruits an accomplished executive who doesn’t perform well on the job, it is the company’s fault. An executive’s track record is proof of their capabilities, and if they aren’t able to fit into a company’s culture, a founder or a CEO must realize how this is foremost a failure of their recruitment system.

When an employee is forced to work overtime or during weekends, it is often their boss’ fault. Unless under extraordinary circumstances, overtime work is a symptom of larger problems within a company’s leadership – of bad planning, poor estimation or mismanaged expectations. An employee working overtime is less a sign of their determination and sacrifice, and more a sign of incompetent leadership.

Every war is a tragedy – an avoidable source of carnage and suffering. Most wars are a sign of diplomatic failures of the leaders of the warring countries. There is little romance in a 21st century war. People dying for their country are brave and valourous, but their deaths are foremost a sign that their country’s leadership has let its citizens down.

Oftentimes, what is painted as incompetence, sacrifice and valour serve as veils for the failures of leadership. When avoidable suffering occurs, we must examine the underlying failures that cause them rather than ‘celebrate’ the tragedies they unleash.

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