Have you encountered an organization with absentee landlord leadership?
Regardless of whether you sell, engineer or serve clients, there are 2 scenarios I have encountered when working with small to mid-sized companies (SMBs). These situations always raise the red flag that I am observing absentee landlord leadership. And in my Leadership Playbook, that is not leadership at all.
Have you encountered these two absentee landlord leadership scenarios?
- The actual leaders are leading by remote-control.
- The leader hides out because they do not know what they are doing.
Quite frankly, these red flag scenarios are indications that it is time to cut the project short or stop pursuing a lead. Either way, the best course of action is to not develop the relationship further. Because, ultimately, it wastes time (yours) and preserves their status quo.
After reading this blog post, you may find that your gut impressions are correct about a few of your current or potential clients. That is my intention: to make sure you utilize your time more collaboratively, productively and profitably with A-List clients. Click here to find out who those clients are.
Absentee Landlord Leadership Scenario 1 – Remote Control
Several family businesses made decisions by consensus, through a family-and-friends Board of Directors. Their decisions, made at emotional, monthly meetings, often were at-odds with the needs of the actual organization, headed up by a family-member President. The in-house President not only was dealing with business challenges, but also with behind-the-scenes family board member disputes and drama. This scenario affected the quality of leadership. No matter what strategy he put in place, it didn’t last for long and was subject to monthly, familial scrutiny. Continuous business improvement was difficult to sustain because it was being continuously derailed.
Scenario 2 – Absentee Landlord Leadership – When Inmates run the Asylum
A team of sales reps created a side-business, independently of the organizations they actually worked for. As long as the side-business was awarded work requiring low-quality output, everything looked good on paper. The on-the-side SMB was headed up by an individual with the title General Manager, who frequently was out of the office for unscheduled “meetings”. As a result, there was no leadership on-site, often for days. Truth was, the GM did not have the acumen to run the business effectively. That left the employees in charge. Unfortunately, employees were under-skilled, lacking soft skills, education and leadership skills essential for critical thinking. As a result, everyone independently invented their own sets of conflicting processes to perform daily duties. Eventually cash flow tanked. That’s when the absentee owners told that ineffective GM that it was time for him to pay attention to the business.
Chances are, you work with great companies with great leadership.
There are plenty of great companies to work with, headed by great people with the courage and acumen to lead. However, at one point or another, all of us have gotten involved with people and companies that gave us a wake-up call.
My advice to you: trust your gut. Review these two absentee landlord leadership scenarios.
Our job, as business, engineering and service leaders of worth, is to create and deliver extraordinary client outcomes. To accomplish our goals, seek similarly-motivated leaders in organizations willing to do the heavy-lifting. Together, deliver extraordinary and enduring client outcomes.
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Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™ serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging Industrial Internet of Things environments. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association.
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