Whether presiding over the entire company, a function, a region, or a business unit, the people at the top of an organization have a disproportionate level of influence over those they lead. Those further down in the organization look to their leaders for cues on what’s acceptable (and what isn’t), and the team’s habits — both good and bad — will be emulated. Having your actions play out publicly, as if on a Jumbotron, is a huge responsibility, and unfortunately too many teams don’t take this responsibility as seriously as they should. The consequences can be farther reaching than most leadership teams realize.
At their best, leadership teams synchronize their organizations into cohesive powerhouses. At their worst, they set an example that some of the worst habits will be tolerated — and perhaps even rewarded. In my 30 years of working with leadership teams, these are three habits that I’ve seen have the most negative influence over a company. Here’s my advice for how to fix them.