Like every good horror movie franchise, this series on Lethal Leadership has a sequel.
In the first post, the villains were Perfectionist Predators and Ungrateful Ghouls. They are not alone. Other monsters threaten the health and well-being of organizations and companies.
Disappearing Demons and Blaming Beasts also do their part to hurt the morale of teams.
Disappearing Demons simply are not there. They vanish – physically, socially, mentally or all three. Those who embody this form of lethal leadership remain disengaged from their team mates and the organization as a whole. Likely, they completely fulfill their outlined responsibilities but typically offer nothing beyond the job description.
In one form or another, Disappearing Demons are not physically present. They constantly travel for work or work remotely from home (before it was the new normal). If they use the office as their base, they work behind closed doors. They are logistically present, but you never see them.
When company holds social functions like lunches, happy hours or holiday parties, Disappearing Demons vanish. They don’t participate in office theme days or organization-encouraged volunteerism. Whether they believe they lack time or just enthusiasm, Disappearing Demons make no contributions towards culture-enhancing activities.
Disappearing Demons also do not show up for their team members in a mental capacity. They remain unaware of important elements such as team dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Their absence on these issues limits the contributions and collaborations of the team. Even worse, Disappearing Demons don’t consider professional development opportunities for themselves or those they lead.
As leaders, Disappearing Demons rot an organization from the inside.
What if you’re a Disappearing Demon?
If you look in the mirror and see a Disappearing Demon looking back at you, there are things you can do to materialize and be there for your team.
- Find the Why
If you find yourself disappearing from physical, social and mental opportunities to connect with those you lead, ask yourself hard questions to discover the reason. Are there personal issues in your life that are distracting you? Do you like the company where you work? Is your role moving you towards achieving your career goals? Identifying the reasons why you want to disappear will guide you to make changes to create or find a professional home where you will be fully present.
- Open Up.
Some people find themselves more productive with no distractions or interruptions, so closing the door makes sense to them. When you’re on the outside of the door, it sends a message of disengagement. Block on your calendar a few hours during the day when your door will be open.
- Ease Into It.
The same applies for work-related social opportunities. You don’t have to attend every event, but show up to a happy hour occasionally. Go to the holiday party. Plan these activities in advance so that you’re committed on your calendar. Your presence will be appreciated, and your absence would be felt.
Demonstrating a lack of connection to the company and its people discourages those they lead from engaging as well. If leaders don’t model a healthy link to the organization and their colleagues, why would their followers? This absence of loyalty hurts retention and increases turnover because nothing tethers the people to the company.
While some monsters grab their victims to scare them, Disappearing Demons let people go because they teach them not to care.
When business plans do not succeed, Blaming Beasts are quick to dodge responsibility. If they took a true physical form, they would have hundreds of fingers on each hand to point to others when things go wrong.
Blaming Beasts magically appear when the team successfully achieves objectives, and in turn, vanish when the team falls short of its goals. These leaders take all of the credit when projects turn out well and place the blame on others when they fail.
Their strength only grows when they are in the spotlight. Blaming Beasts thrive off of their own ego. Because of this, they never celebrate their team members because they cannot share the positive attention.
Their greatest fear is being held accountable for any negative results of their leadership so much that they will not hesitate to undermine, question and accuse the performance of others to shift the focus and place the blame. They feed off of the failure of others. Often, they believe the only way for them to win is for others to lose.
What if you’re a Blaming Beast?
Guilty of being a Blaming Beast yourself? Here are a few steps towards a cure.
- Find the Root.
Figure out what leads you to play the blame game. Does owning a failure make you doubt your job security? Are you threatened by the success of those who report to you? Do place blame on them because you subconsciously hope they’ll leave the team? Knowing the motivation to place blame can help you reprogram yourself to respect your team members stronger and own your actions.
- Take Your Medicine.
When a goal is not reached, when a deadline is missed, when a project fails, the leader must own it. Dissecting the process will point out areas in which the team and its members can improve. Constructive criticism can be shared. But the leader should shield the team and take the blame.
- Establish Rewards.
If you’re tempted to intercept praise for successes before it reaches your team members, set in place regular and consistent programs of recognition. At the end of every month, celebrate a MVP. Pop a bottle of champagne to share with the team and present the cork (and another bottle of champagne) to the featured team member. Honor your employees publicly and on an individual basis. They will feel the love and crave more achievements for the team.
If you follow a Blaming Beast, you are at great risk of either being unfairly chased out of your organization or having the weight of so much blame placed on you that you never move forward professionally.
Like every good horror movie franchise, this series on Lethal Leadership has more than one sequel. Next week, we’ll talk about to more terrible terrors of lethal leadership: Micromanaging Monsters and Vision Vampires.