The Beginning of the End
In most cases, everything works out just fine. We all have our own faults and working together is about accepting each other for theirs. But in some instances, things go afoul with that leader-employee relationship.
It could happen 10 months into the job or a Trojan War-like 10 years later. Either way, there’s an event that triggers a sudden change: a missed deadline, a failed project, or the way the employee spoke at a meeting – it could be anything.
Whatever triggered the manager, it caused them to immediately change their behavior towards the employee. One day the boss is all sympatico with the person and the next day the boss has emotionally fled town like a Greek army after building a gift horse.
This is the beginning of the end.
Set Up To Fail
In these scenarios where the employee is set up to fail, the boss will begin acting in ways that silo the employee. They will leave the employee out of the decision-making process. They won’t communicate directly with the employee unless they are required to. Often they don’t even give the employee all the information they need to complete their job.
You’ve seen people get set up to fail before, right?
Inevitably the employee fails. They either quit or get fired.
“Thank G-d they’re finally gone,” the boss says in relief.
Too bad the boss is wrong.
Your goal, as a great leader, is to set your employees up to succeed. Your job is to help them become great leaders themselves.
The scenario above describes how, all too often, leaders set up their employees to fail. And when the employee does fail, the leader rarely looks at their own behavior and simply blames the employee.
I’m not saying that the employee was the right fit for the company, what I’m saying is that the leader gave them no choice but to fail. They created a lose-lose scenario and ensured it was a bad fit.
Setting employees up to fail is a common occurrence. It happens at all size companies and at all levels – sometimes it’s purposeful and sometimes it’s done subconsciously.
Either way, it is behavior that is uncharacteristic of successful leaders.
If your employees are set up to fail, then your leadership is set up to fail.
I’ve coached many leaders through this scenario because it’s a critical one to overcome.
Yes, the Greeks won the war by suddenly changing their attitude and setting the Trojans up for failure. But they would’ve lost in business leadership with that tactic.