In my last post, I wrote about how a leader’s insecurity is one of the most common derailments to effective leadership (Leadership Derailments – Part 1). Today, I want to address another common leadership derailment, the Ivory Tower.
The Ivory Tower is a symbol of a syndrome where leaders are detached from the realities occurring in their own organizations. When leaders rule from the Ivory Tower, they have an obscured view of how things actually are; they tend to see (or hear) only the good in the organization and are blind to the things that may be problems or challenges.
The Ivory Tower syndrome is typically caused by two things: 1) A leader who does not get out of the office to really see and feel what’s going on in the organization, and/or 2) An organizational culture that does not make people feel safe enough to provide honest feedback to senior leaders. The result of both is that the leader is sheltered from the unpleasant realities that exist in the organization, and thus, is unable to address these things to make the organization stronger. When these things have the potential to derail the organization and the leader, they become especially perilous.
Think about your own leadership. Do you get out of the office and ask questions about how things really are? Do your team members feel comfortable delivering bad news or are they afraid you (and/or your management team) will “shoot the messenger” when they bring forward problems? Do you make your team members feel valued and appreciated so they will bring solutions with the bad news?
As you start the New Year, think about both of these leadership derailments – insecurity and the Ivory Tower. Work hard to be a secure leader and to get out of the Ivory Tower and you’ll enjoy a 2017 of positive and effective leadership!
Thanks for reading,
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