• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Uplifting leadership: why goal getters are also destroyers

The leadership transitions: From peer to leader (4)

As I entered his office in one of the branches of an organisation we worked for, Jegede gave me a heroic greeting and said, you saved my life and many others. That animal does call me around 3 am to harass me and abuse me emotionally. He was a nightmare to my mental health and well-being.

Jegede was one of my colleagues and a contemporary with no official or private interactions until I bellied the cat. I was like one of the rats who dreaded the cats’ coming and planned to find a way to be aware and get alert whenever their tormentor-in-chief was moving around looking for his prey. At the meeting of the rats, one of the younger rats’ suggestions was applauded.

The intelligent rat suggested putting a bell ribbon around the neck of the tormenting cat. The bell will make sounds as the cat moves around, looking for rats to hunt for food. The sound of the bell will awaken or alert the rats to take cover and run for their dear lives. The suggestion to bell the cat was well applauded until an elderly rat asked who would bell the cat. Only after that question did the rats recognise the futility of the suggestion. Who will bell the cat?

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Jegede describes the leader as an animal, a goal-getter and C-level executive who leads over three hundred people and consistently delivers on his numbers. However, he can destroy the emotions of his subordinates and the tools that achieve results for him. He is paranoid and fears failure, using his mouth to destroy people around him.

He compares slow performance to being dead and abuses people. He praises people but is often short-lived, and his Tuesday meetings are nightmares. Mr. Animal led and created massive fear, making performance unsustainable. He was a workaholic, sleeping up to two hours a day, and used fear as a tool for performance. He believed that if people do not fear losing their jobs, they might not be motivated to be at their best.

Organisation owners and visionaries should address the excesses of their goal-getters, who operate at level four

The author demonstrates their organisational development traits by challenging a goal-getter in a corporate setting, leading to his termination. They then escalated the behaviour to supervisors and company owners, resulting in a temporary break in the abusive behaviour. This led to heroic greetings from Jegede, highlighting the importance of fair and objective escalation in a workplace.

Organisation owners and visionaries should address the excesses of their goal-getters, who operate at level four. As a leadership coach, I understand that Mr. Goal Getter is operating at level four, but at level one, the ability to manage oneself ethically and comply with behaviour outside the animal setting sustains organisational performance. The ability to inspire, achieve results, and release poor performers without creating enemies for the organisation is crucial for leaders to build resilient organisations.

In delivering results for the organisation, most of the goal-getters that surround the key decision-makers focus on the reward, power, and influence they could get. There is a need to bring alignment to their drive for achievement and recognition and build a resilient team against competition or any change in a business environment. Unfortunately, most visioners are swayed by the results and the benefits of the temporary achievements of the goal-getters without minding the damage that is being done to the culture and the people who are meant to be the future of the organisation.

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Consequently, you have the goal-getters being praised for performance but have caused emotional damage to people while delivering results for the people above them. What then happens is purported strong and top-heavy leadership with a weak base consisting of disengaged and actively disengaged employees willing to move on at the earliest opportunity. Some will become apostles and enemies of the organisations because of the unchecked excesses of some goal-getters. The visionaries and leaders are to ensure their goal-getters moderate and avert the misrepresentation of their individuals’ and organisations’ images created while producing results. The sustainability of what is being produced and the engagement of the people producing the outcome must be always considered.

Today, I coach business executives to go beyond celebrating the performances of their goal-getters and drill into the impact of their behaviour and the process they are adopting in leading others to deliver on their performance metrics. It is essential to ensure that the culture and workplace environment are not centred around one person or group of people’s ambitions to the detriment of most people who, in the aggregate, will produce sustainable results for the organisation.