What If Your Company Leader Is Sinking the Ship?

sailing ship in a storm | is your company leader sinking the ship?In the beginning of my sessions with leadership teams, I preface our time together by saying, “If you have that little voice inside of you, that little piece of you that says I should say something, then say it. We can’t afford to not know the true condition of your organization.” I say this, because sometimes team members feel like their captain is sinking the ship, but they don’t want to mutiny. So they keep silent.

Is Your Captain Sinking the Ship?

You’re in the midst of a storm, doing the best you can in your role. The storm continues to roar on, bringing bigger, more difficult challenges. There’s a chance your crew could survive this, but your captain seems to be guiding the ship into the roughest areas, the highest waves, and heading towards certain doom—taking the ship, the crew, and the mission straight to the bottom of the sea.

For many, this is a familiar scenario in the workplace—a frustrating, unfavorable position to be in. The leader you once believed in is making errors too big to be ignored, the type of errors that wreak havoc on an organization. From ethical errors to poor decision making, from dictating to not having enough time to be involved, or just chasing shiny objects, these are all serious red flags for you and the organization. So where do you turn?

In a scenario like this, you have three avenues you can pursue, assuming you don’t plan to live at the bottom of the sea. You can:

  1. Help the captain
  2. Replace the captain
  3. Abandon the captain, ship, crew, and mission

Help the Captain

Roll up your sleeves and say what needs to be said. “YOU NEED HELP!” In this scenario, you’re probably dedicated to the leader, the company, the employees, and the purpose. There’s a good chance you don’t have all the information you need to recommend a complete solution to help your company’s leader, but the dialogue has to start somewhere.

Creating awareness is step one. You’ll need open and honest dialogue as you share insights that may be a blind spot to the leader. Start your conversation from a place of genuine concern about them, the company, the employees, and your company’s purpose. No matter how the conversation goes, the outcome must be that your leader is willing to make a change and your leadership team is willing to take on more responsibility.

Handpicked related content: Why Is It Hard for Business Leaders to Know What They Want?

Questions a Leadership Team must answer to progress towards resolution:

  1. Who is needed to establish our leadership team? (Must happen first if you have no defined leadership team in place)
  2. What are the issues causing our leader to need help?
  3. What responsibilities are best suited for our leader and which should be unloaded or exchanged?
  4. What issues must we prioritize and solve in the next 90 days to improve our position?
  5. How do we improve open and honest communication in our organization to prevent this from happening?

EOS Tools Used in This Scenario: Accountability Chart, Rocks, Issues Solving Track, People Analyzer, L10 Meetings

Replace the Captain

Time to find your courage, because this will be your most difficult option. It’s evident that your current leader isn’t equipped to lead the organization. They don’t get, want, or have the capacity to fulfill the role. They may simply be in the wrong seat within the company, but they may not even be the right person for the organization.

This will require an open and honest intervention with your leader. Like the previous option, you need to come from a place of genuine concern about the leader, company, employees, and company purpose. The outcome of this dialogue has to be that the leader is willing to replace his or her function as head of the company. That’s easier said than done, but choosing to do nothing is the worst possible option for you and everyone in the organization.

Questions a Leadership Team must answer to progress towards resolution:

  1. What should be the makeup of the leadership team? Who replaces the leader?
  2. What responsibilities are required for our leader and what are the roles of the leadership team?
  3. Who is best equipped to take the leadership role?
  4. What issues must we prioritize and solve in the next 90 days to improve our position?
  5. How do we improve open and honest communication in our organization to prevent these leadership issues from happening again?

EOS Tools to Use in This Scenario: Accountability Chart, Rocks, Issues Solving Track, People Analyzer, L10 Meetings

Abandon Ship

It’s time to bow out. You have a failing leader who is unwilling to be open and honest, unwilling to hear out their closest advisors, and unwilling to change the course of a failing organization. It’s time to take your talents elsewhere.

Do You Have the Courage?

These aren’t easy paths to take, but if your organization’s leaders are taking your ship to the bottom of the ocean, isn’t the path clear? If you are truly passionate about your leaders, company, employees, or purpose, then take action. Muster up the courage to make a positive change for yourself and so many others.

Will you listen to that little voice inside of you that says, “I should say something”?

Next Steps

2018-03-09T15:07:26+00:00March 12th, 2018|Blog Articles, Difficult Decisions, Hiring / Firing, Leadership|Comments Off on What If Your Company Leader Is Sinking the Ship?

About the Author:

Ken Bogard joined Nexus Business Solutions with a background in turnaround management and business leadership. He has over 10 years of management and consultative experience in numerous industries. His “know honesty” approach has delivered significant financial gains, improved leadership collaboration, structured strategic direction, and developed “built-to-last” mentalities within numerous small and medium sized organizations.