Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Great Leaders Are Great Communicators

When I can control my schedule, I strive to speak with someone every Monday morning who will stimulate my mind for not only the day but hopefully the entire week.

On a recent Monday morning, I called on a security leader I’ve known since I first recruited him in 2007.  This person is one of those individuals who almost always stimulates me to think.  We talked about the professional situation he currently finds himself in following an acquisition where his company was the company that was acquired. 

The leader I know well now reports to someone who is in a “C” level position but very likely shouldn’t be.  Apparently, this leader drives his people through an attempt to instill fear.  Here’s example of a statement that came out of our Monday morning conversation.

"I need for you to get this project done if you want to work here.  If you don’t want to work here, that can be arranged."
I don’t know about you but I suspect you aren't highly motivated after reading that quote.  I know I wasn't motivated by hearing it spoken by my friend and I wasn't motivated by writing it down either.

Another statement that came out of our conversation this morning was this statement.

"My boss can’t communicate.  There is no doubt that he has ideas in his head but he just can’t pull together his thoughts in a way that provides clear direction to those around him."
Ouch, another suggestion that this “C” level executive may have been promoted to the point where he is no longer competent.  He certainly isn't a leader.  Leaders excel when it comes to translating vision into actionable steps for followers to execute.

As our conversation progressed, one of the many points we agreed on was the point that leaders need to provide vision that is backed up with clear direction for accomplishing objectives.  

Scaring talented information security professionals into doing their work is a recipe for both low employee engagement and turnover.

My security leader friend has two options.  First, he can wait until others in his organization grow weary of the poor leadership performance demonstrated by the “C” level executive.  When this happens, my security leader friend will likely be promoted because he is in the right place at the right time and because he understands how to function as a leader.  Something his current boss apparently doesn't understand.

The second option for my security leader friend is for him to look for a new career position where his abilities are more greatly recognized and appreciated.  There isn't anything he can do to improve his boss’ performance.

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