Do you know an insulated leader?

by | Jan 14, 2020 | Leadership

We regularly provide leadership training programs and coaching to a wide variety of organizations. These different types of organizations often have similar leadership challenges. One common issue we encounter is insulated leadership which we describe as any of the following:

  1. The leader lacks awareness about how they are perceived as a leader
  2. Those around the leader do not feel comfortable being open and honest to the leader
  3. The leader is surrounded by a those who continually agree with him or her
  4. Important complaints and issues are not shared with the leader to avoid conflict and protect people

An insulated leader cannot perform as effectively as an aware and informed leader. Insulated leaders are prone to making uninformed decisions and assume the business is operating better than it is. In addition, insulated leaders can frustrate those around them which results in lower engagement, motivation, and retention of employees.

We recommend three approaches to help leaders be less insulated:

  1. Listen more: In general, leaders need to listen more than they speak. There are many organizations with employees who constantly defer to the leader. Leaders can encourage those around them to be open and honest about their leadership and to always share essential business information with him or her.
  2. 360 feedback: Leaders can gather confidential feedback through a 360 feedback process. This type of process is a good way for leaders to openly share that they want to hear from those around them. Many employees will be more open and honest if they know their feedback is confidential. 
  3. Leadership inventory comparison: There are many leadership assessments that can be used for this approach. Leaders can complete the assessment on their own and ask those around them to complete it independently. This approach allows the leader to compare their perceived performance on leadership indicators with the views of others.

After soliciting the input of others, it is important to acknowledge and thank those who participated. This is a perfect opportunity to set leadership development goals.

Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith’s book What got you here won’t get you there describes how leaders assume that their behaviors in the past will continue to result in success. One way leaders can improve their leadership is by reducing insulation and increasing awareness.

We can help you conduct a 360 feedback process and a leadership inventory. In addition, we can work with you to create a leadership development plan. We coach leaders to ensure follow up on the leadership development plan and provide needed leadership training programs.