Self-entitled with zero empathy

Having witnessed more than my fair share of self-entitlement from senior executives this particular director took it to another level……in fact she took the cake and the crown for her over the top self-entitled behaviour.

This director took the time to give me a lecture (boarder line verbal abuse) on how her time was extremely important. She went on to say she was not interested in appointments unless they were mid-morning and how dare I offend her with a request for a breakfast meeting at 8:00am. She reminded me that she was director and everyone needed to dance around her. Her time was precious, it was all about her. Can you believe this? A Board member responsible for making the million dollar decisions which affects thousands of employees did not have a humble bone in her body. She was not prepared to budge or be flexible, requested a certain five star restaurant, the list went on and on.

I was appalled to say the least but the sad truth is that this is happening all around me and I find myself fighting for others who are unable to deal with such awful, rude leaders who lack compassion and continuously belittle and intimidate those around them. This particular director didn’t stop for a second to think about nor empathise with me, she was so consumed with self-entitlement she could not move past her demeaning and inconsiderate ways. Rather than saying no sorry my schedule cannot accommodate a breakfast meeting could you please offer me another time, she had to go down the path of self-righteousness.

This director was clearly all for a work life balance when it came to her needs yet failed to reciprocate and share that compassionate, empathetic view towards me. In fact she failed to acknowledge me period. I was someone who was disrupting her walk in the park. How dare I.

Don’t get me wrong I’m no stranger to self-entitled senior executive behaviour and I’ve had my quota of office politics spanning 18 year but what is seriously starting to affect me on a human level is this lack of empathy and complete self-entitlement with no regard for others. This behaviour needs to stop. We need to start calling out such behaviour as it’s disgusting and far from the role models we are looking to lead our future generation.

Policies are only as good as the leadership that demonstrates them daily. – Lilianna Kovacevic

Organisations in which leaders continuously fail to uphold a united front through demonstrated action and by this I mean stand united in their decision making processes as opposed to voicing their personal biases, will struggle to gain their employees trust.

What does bring strong employee engagement (buy-in) is demonstrated alignment amongst the leadership team through one united voice and consistent language, instead of leadership teams continuously putting each other on the chopping block (dog eat dog mentality).

This kind of approach lacks credibility and influence to bring their employees on board their change initiatives which are supposedly there to better service the customers and the business holistically.

What leaders amid organisations need to realise is that they are representing a company and the company’s ethos and therefore leaders need to park their egos aside and focus on the bigger picture which does not concern their individual biases, especially if they are not in alignment with the company values.

What gets measured gets done….or does it really?

Certainly at an individual level, if you are passionate about the initiative/goal, yes absolutely… BUT….what if you are merely reporting to tick the box? Organisations are well known for making their staff inflate reports to appear better than they are for the sake of public perception.

A great example being the hot topic of gender diversity, having more women in senior/executive positions. Do we really need the government to mandate reporting in order for it to be taken seriously? Anything that is forced rather than engaged, is far from sustainable (productive). Informing and educating, builds a following, resulting in greater impact, through demonstrated action.

My take, if it’s an engrained habit, it’s demonstrated in all that you do and therefore does not require special attention. Informing and educating is key rather than creating all this hype around the need for more measures, to prove you are doing the right things on the surface. What really matters, is walking your talk each and every day, advocating your cause rather than showing off in an annual report.

Unless leaders start DEMONSTRATING that they take leading seriously, organisational effectiveness will continue to suffer and in turn so will their bottom line

Today’s leaders need to revisit their mass sacking, redundancy, downsizing or outsourcing plans to address the all-important question of ‘How are you going to maintain (little yet exceed) the same level of service, once you remove a large number of your workforce and/or a key person from your organisation?’

When are leaders going to wake up to the fact that multi-skilling alone will not solve this problem, as you create a workforce that struggles to meet expectations (customer needs) due to, in essence, being hired to undertake a number of roles, yet have accountability for neither. I would much rather pay for a service provider that does one thing very well than another that offers a number of services (product streams) to get you in the door, yet struggles to deliver on either.

Leaders which fail to ensure their communication plans address any workforce changes adequately so as to ensure access to knowledge, information and decision-making is clearly articulated (to those left to pick up the pieces), especially once a critical person is gone, will suffer as their customers go elsewhere and their bottom line plunges.

Instead of mass sacking leadership needs to step up to the plate and seriously address poor performance by being clear, transparent and accountable, rather than firing only to rehire.  As multi-skilling does not deliver sustainable results due to the pressure of needing to wear more than one hat at the same time. Eventually you will put the wrong hat on. The level of catastrophe is not something I would want to weigh up as I do not have an entitlement to mess with someone’s life, nor should anyone else for that matter.

Corporate Executives…loosing grip on reality, whilst their employees reach breaking point

Having survived another gruelling week in the corporate cluster and never ending demands (some with good merit and others just dwindling the shareholder returns)….led me to a pretty harsh…. not to mention heart breaking reality, as I spoke to colleagues from different divisions, states and countries, chasing work at the wrath of unrealistic Executives. The disturbing part was that tempers were flared, and any hope of politeness was overpowered by anger and resentment, as they belted out …..”I’m literally about to have a nervous breakdown”……”I’ve been working 18 hour days”…..”I can’t do this anymore”…..”I’m burnt out”……simply heart breaking.

Their despair made me question, why are these Corporate Executives doing this to their employees? The answer came pretty quickly….because they do not live in the real world. Think about it….they live on excessive salaries, at the shareholder’s expense, get chauffeured around, stay in 5 star hotels, fly first or business class, the list goes on. How could they possibly understand the realities of the middle to low class society, whose lives are becoming tougher and tougher as they struggle to put food on the table, pay the bills and god forbid spend any (forget quality) time with their children or families?

So who gave Corporate Executives the right to play Russian roulette with people’s lives? What is it going to take to realise that unless they put the brakes on, we are going to see more and more stress claims as a result of anxiety and depression. Why isn’t our government stepping in? After all it’s in their best interest for a happy and healthy workforce without excessive sick leave claims. What’s the point of legislation, safe work practices, etc. when Corporate Executives override the law with their own laws of ‘put up and shut up’…or there’s the door. Until the next sucker comes along, burns out, and the vicious cycle repeats itself over and over again.

It’s time for employees to put matters into their own hands, rather than rely on Corporate Executives and/or our governments to save us from breaking point. We need to step in and assert some boundaries. You can say no to your boss to working crazy hours and you can say I need to leave at a reasonable hour and by reasonable I mean by 5.00pm most days. Don’t allow yourself to be at the mercy of this selfish high class, whilst you bust your gut each and every day to attain this so called perfection, through unrealistic deadlines and scarce resources, all the while feeling like you are letting them down or even worse feeling like you are a failure as a result of their unrealistic expectations to begin with.

You need to boost your confidence. By boosting your confidence to speak up, you will be better placed to find a happy medium for both parties concerned. As for our Corporate Executives, whilst I can appreciate, and trust me, most of us are pretty clear on the fact that you need to make a profit to be viable, have mercy on your workforce by being clear, transparent and accountable for your actions/inactions. You need to stop abusing and burning out your employees as it is not sustainable to keep going at a 100 miles an hour….eventually the engine will give up! There must be a balance.

Change management initiatives…a different perspective

Rather than focusing on why a corporate initiative flunked (which is usually the result of one (or a combination) of the following: 1. Lack of financial resources or 2. Lack of commitment/engagement to make it happen in the first place), why not shift our focus on holding Boards and/or Executives accountable for changing the language in which strategy is defined as something that the Boards and/or Executives are accountable for (by demanding regular reporting on robust strategic engagement at all levels within an organisation) as its not enough to just sign-off on budgets and strategic initiatives, then hand ball over to middle management to implement.   Boards and Executives continue to make the fatal mistake of failing to engage their worker ants…the middle management that make any change possible due to their visibility/exposure as well as interaction between the top and bottom levels of an organisation.

This lack of engagement from the onset leads to lack of empowerment, and a lack of feeling like they are part of the business. Since the strategic focus becomes the business plan it’s not just a nice to have.  Organisations need to shift the old mentality of ‘strategy is an airy fairy discussion’….let’s focus on the real job….. the day to day operations…delivering short-term results, etc.  Understanding an organisation’s business strategy is a core and vital process for all involved, in order to ensure its viability.  The language used to define it within organisations must shift, it’s not something that is delegated to Boards alone…it is everyone’s responsibility to understand it and help drive it for the long-term.