Why Good Leaders Go Bad

UNDERPERFORMING, INEFFECTIVE teams that don’t drive shareholder value often are the result of leaders who lack an understanding of team [...]

December 1 2001 by Jennifer Gilbert


UNDERPERFORMING, INEFFECTIVE teams that don’t drive shareholder value often are the result of leaders who lack an understanding of team dynamics, according to Top Teams: Why Some Work and Some Do Not, a recent report from the Hay Group in Philadelphia.

According to Hay Group Senior Vice President Debra Nunes, common CEO mistakes include:

  • Attempting to take on the full responsibility of the team. “CEOs make mistakes when they try to go it alone,” she explains. Set the direction but then let the team determine the course of action.
  • Failing to adequately spell out a team’s mission, for fear of insulting or speaking down to team members. “Without that clarity, you’re setting up the team for conflict,” Nunes warns.
  • Having too-limited representation on the team. “You want the CEO to hear a range of opinions,” says Nunes.
  • Failing to address detrimental behavior, for example, argumentative and non-supportive participation. Such team members inhibit success, and they must be removed if they ignore requests to change.
  • Not allowing the team to grow. “It’s the CEO’s responsibility to get the group to focus on what they’ve done and understand why what they did worked,” she suggests.

Fortunately, these mistakes can be easily remedied. “These things are manageable and changeable and when they are addressed, you start seeing results in short order,” Nunes says.