A brief look at how dysfunctional behaviour caused by fear can spread in an organisation:
My research featured by the Harvard Business Review allowed an emerging theory to develop that shows how dysfunctional behaviour can spread from the chief executive. It builds on earlier work on dysfunctional organisations, notably by Goldman (2008), Kets de Vries & Miller (1986) and Padilla, Hogan and Kaiser (2007). This emerging theory is represented by the following model:
Explanation of model.
For dysfunctional behaviour to spread from the chief executive and envelope an organisation this research shows certain ingredients are needed:
I. Chief executive whose fears have surfaced in the form of dysfunctional behaviour.
II. The executive team form a dependency on the chief executive and collude and identify with his/her behaviours. Sub-groups develop in the executive team that likely reduce the effectiveness of the overall team. This cocktail of individual executive team member and group behaviours in turn acts to reinforce the chief executive’s dysfunctional behaviours.
III. The chief executive’s dysfunctional behaviours are observed and role modelled by managers within the organisation. In turn the direct reports of the managers role model and mimic the manager’s new dysfunctional behaviours and hence they spread and get reinforced in the organisation.
IV. Further, and reinforcing III, the executive team's dysfunctional behaviours are also mimicked by their direct reports, and this in turn cascades down through the organisation.
The research further indicated that for this flow and movement of dysfunction to be truly intoxicating for the organisation, the following extra ingredients would most likely also be present:
• Loose controls, processes and governance, particularly within the executive team. This helps anxieties to be poorly managed.
• Remuneration systems encouraging dysfunctional behaviours such as silo thinking and personal greed.
• Ideally a fast growth company with a buccaneer ‘just-do-it’ attitude prevailing, compounded by external stakeholders with a strong focus on financial returns and so not overly concerned with the safe functioning and health of the organisation.
• The allure of being a member of the executive team being an object of overwhelming desire for managers within the organisation.
• Little or no focus on personal development and reflection.
(Article reference details, available on request)
You might also enjoy these articles:
- May 31, 2017 Are You An Impostor At The Top?
- Apr 26, 2017 Is your mother in your executive team meetings?
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- Oct 27, 2016 The Psychological Impact Of Being A Chief Executive
- Sep 22, 2016 Expect More, Get More.
- Aug 25, 2016 "Boys Don't Cry"...but should CEOs?
- Jul 28, 2016 Fear of death: The curse of the executive in their twilight years
- Jul 1, 2016 How To Lead In Uncertain Times
- Jun 1, 2016 How You Deal With Anxiety In The Boardroom
- May 26, 2016 What's The Smell Of Your Organisation?
- Apr 28, 2016 The Attributes Of An Effective Executive Team
- Mar 24, 2016 The Fearless Executive
- Mar 17, 2016 How You Can Create The Environment For Top Team Performance To Thrive
- February 2016
- January 2016
- Dec 17, 2015 “My Heart Belongs To Daddy”
- Nov 26, 2015 How To Make Better Executive Team Decisions
- Oct 29, 2015 How To Tell If Your Executive Team Is Dysfunctional
- September 2015
- Aug 27, 2015 Why Executive Teams Can Sometimes Be Lazy
- Jul 30, 2015 How To Get Buy-In (And It's Not What You May Think)
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015