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Igniting Greatness


According to a recent Harvard Business Review, a CEO forum concluded that protecting their employees from bad managers should be their top HR strategic initiative. The CEOs commented that strategic initiatives were at best struggling along and not gaining the traction and momentum required to find break through solutions for today’s intense times because of inept managers.

Based on my recent consulting interventions and worldwide observations, the CEOs got to the heart and soul of plummeting engagement and top talent fleeing an organization – inept managers. Inept managers destroy trust, self-esteem, motivation and profits.

It still breaks my heart when I see people who want to give their best keeping their heads down in fear of it being lopped off. People whose valuable and innovative ideas are dismissed. People whose energy and commitment are focused on getting a new position versus excellence. Even sadder, individuals who were once excited and full of potential simply surviving, hoping for a change in management.

Gallup’s recent survey cited 51% of the US workforce
are actively seeking new employment
with poor supervisors as the leading factor.

Based on recent culture baseline interviews, here are a few of the attitudes and behaviors that are costing your organization and your workforce – from millennials to baby boomers – heartburn.
  • Lying and cheating which includes finding blame and taking credit for others’ efforts as well as sharing confidences.

  • Interviewees stated that their bad manager was a “bully” using their position as leverage with fear of retaliation when asking for clarification on actions and speaking up about perceived abuse of power.

  • High potentials were extremely frustrated by limited access to key stakeholders, communications and information because their manager was protecting and hoarding his/her power and status.

  • Individuals were upset by condescending behaviors including smirking at ideas and being “talked-down-to” as though they were “idiots or second-class citizens.” When asked what specifically was said, the interviewees spoke more about the manager’s tone and body language.

  • Yelling, swearing, mean attacks and temper tantrums continue to get people running for cover and seeking new positions. Personal attacks were viewed as unprofessional, unwarranted and “really dumb especially today.”

  • Perceived favoritism and the “good ‘ole boy” network creating fatalism and other create morale issues.

You might be asking yourself why are these people staying? I did. They are staying because they overall like the company, people and industry, they enjoy their work and take pride in doing a good job. They have trust in their CEO and senior leadership team – “They don’t know what they don’t know.”

CEOs and senior leaders unite. Take 100% ownership for who comprises your management group.
  • Be visible. Listen. Look for what is not being said. Ask for feedback.

  • Assess every manager and supervisor in your organization. Take immediate action where warranted. Remember, you get what you allow.

  • Provide coaching, mentoring and the individual development necessary to increase the leadership muscle of each and every manager.

  • Find untapped, unrecognized raw talent to develop. As I counseled one client, promote individuals with the heart of a leader. The rest can be taught.

Protect your workforce and reap respect.

Coaching Moments

What is the status of your key initiatives by department? Stalled or moving forward as expected, why?

When you walk the halls, notice in what departments employees are happy and energized and in what departments there is drama and pettiness? What is the difference maker?

Your first and foremost job at a leader
is to take charge of your own energy
and then orchestrate the energy of those around you.

Peter Drucker

Thank you so much for bringing us into the light with leadership development. Your sessions have gotten people thinking and talking about their effect on others.

Rita Ransdell, EVP Human Resources
American Airlines Center

Get Results

Got inept managers? Get Ellen. Contact Ellen today at 214.207.7718 or

Initiatives stalled due to lack of leadership and a frozen middle management? Get back-on-track with Ellen’s keynote and program: Spirited Leadership.

Aspiring and emerging leaders build your leadership muscle with Ellen’s award-winning and best-selling book, Spirited Leadership: 52 Ways to Build Trust, provides it.

Leadership begins within with you. Ellen’s 2016 International Latino Book Award Winner, Happy in Spite of People, shows you the path.


It's All About Trust.™

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