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A CEO recently shared frustration regarding a member of the leadership team. The individual is not decisive or direct. When asked a question this person waffles and, given their role on the team, this isn’t acceptable. This person is a strong leader but when it comes to being direct and putting it on the line… it isn’t happening. It is frustrating and could result in the person losing their job. What can we do?

HR Guru Solution

This is a challenging organizational and coaching situation.

The first question is whether this person clearly understands their role and the expectations of the individual to whom he/she is reporting. The answer was that the role and results were clearly defined but perhaps the communication preferences of the supervisor were not clearly communicated. The supervisor is a driver, a “make it happen” type of leader who wants quick responses with little hesitation.

When questioned, the CEO stated this hesitation in response from the subordinate makes him question the integrity of the data presented. This is a good example of the impact that behavior style can have on a relationship… a driving “need it quickly” style versus an analytical “need to be right” style. It is easy to see how these individuals could have conflict.

What can you do as a business owner/leader to avoid the occurrence of these types of situations?

In the interview, be up front about who you are and what your ‘hot buttons” are. Then craft behavioral questions that force the candidate to communicate style, results and match for the company.

These situations can be prevented through development of a job description and a specific interview process that outlines the role and the style of the leader and the organization.