If you read my blog regularly you know I read (and write) a lot about leadership. I believe good leaders make organizations (their companies or associations) successful.
I also know that no one is perfect. It is impossible for good leaders to be good all the time.
I have been bothered by something I have noticed in some organizations for some time. I haven’t been sure how to describe it. I have also been a little embarrassed to discuss it – frankly I wasn’t sure if my leadership was faltering and creating the opportunities for these bothersome situations to occur.
Here is the situation: I have witnessed leaders in organizations repeatedly put their own personal interests above the interests of the organization. There are many challenges with this behavior. The most concerning however, is that the organization cannot reach its potential unless its leadership puts the interests of the organization ahead of their own interests.
I recently saw a poll conducted in the SmartBrief on Leadership I subscribe to. The poll question was this: “How well do leaders in your organization compromise with each other to achieve the best result?”
I was shocked at the results.
- 50% of respondents said they often put their organization first but sometimes personal interests prevail
- 27% of respondents said they always negotiate and compromise, and put the business first.
- 15% of respondents said they often put personal interests ahead of their organizations’
- 7% of respondents said they always put personal interests ahead of their organizations’
My shock is that so many people always or often put their own personal interests ahead of their organizations’. It is my belief that when people put their own interests above those of the organization, it is the beginning of the end for the organization.
How can an organization survive, let alone be a successful, “best in class” organization if its constituents are not as interested in achieving the mission of the organization and delivering value to the organization’s customers as they are in whatever personal agenda they may have?
Even good leaders cannot keep people from putting their personal interests ahead of their organizations’. So, what can good leaders do to help their organization succeed in spite of their self serving peers?
My answer – always do what’s right regardless of how unpopular that choice may be.
What’s your answer?