Tag Archives: Due Diligence

Are You Enabling a Bad Leader?

Responsibility for ineffective and unethical leadership is held by many parties, not just leaders themselves.

Barbara Kellerman

Barbara Kellerman

Harvard’s Barbara Kellerman argued that followers – and certainly Executive Board members –  can precipitate, enable and collaborate in bad leadership.

She studied followership of incompetent, corrupt, and evil leadership in public and business settings.
Kellerman concluded that both followers and uninvolved bystanders who do not object enable bad leaders to continue their practices.

John Darley

John Darley

Supporting her contention is experimental demonstration of  the powerful impact of “Bystander Apathy” by New York University’s John Darley and Bibb Latané of Columbia.

Bibb Latane

Bibb Latane

Because followers have less power and status than leaders, complacent observership can be the norm when organizations don’t establish processes to report ineffective and unethical leadership practices with protections against negative repercussions.

Given the challenges of challenging bad leadership practices, followers can increase chances of understanding organizational culture and leadership practices by conducting pre-employment “due diligence”  before accepting a role,

Questions to evaluate “fit” with a leader include:

  • How do you prefer to communicate with your direct reports?
  • How do you mentor, coach, and develop your direct reports?
  • How would you describe your work style?
  • How do you manage conflict within the team?
  • How will you measure success in this role after a year?
  • What are your three most important values?
  • How do your direct reports describe your management style?
  • How are you and your team perceived in the organizations?
  • To what extent do you involve your team members in decisions?
  • How do you support work-life balance for team members?

These queries can’t guard against unexpected circumstances like managers rapidly moving to a new group or restructurings that result in an unevaluated new manager, role, or group.
However, they may provide additional guidance to potential “warning signs” of “misemployment,” and reduce responsibility for complicity in enabling poor management styles.

-*What questions have you found most effective in assessing work style “fit” and compatibility with a potential manager?
-*What “bad leader” roles have you observed in your organzation?

Related Reading:

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Conducting “Due Diligence” by Interviewing the Hiring Manager

Have you ever had the fleeting thought “Did I make a mistake in accepting this role?” after finding that the work, manager, team, culture, expectations were not “as advertised”?

Julie Jansen

Julie Jansen

If so, next time you interview for a new role, consider Julie Jansen’s suggested questions to evaluate “fit” with the prospective manager, outlined in her book, I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work

Questions to ask any (and every) Prospective Manager 

  •  What deliverables, accomplishments, behaviors do you expect of the person hired for this role during the first three months?
  • First six months?
  • First year?
  • How will you measure success in this role after a year?
  • What challenges the previous incumbent encounter in the role?
  • What do you see as the role’s current challenges?
  • What are the three top priorities for this role in the next year?
  • How do these priorities align with the organization’s strategy?
  • How can the person selected for this role help you manage your highest-concern challenges?
  • How do you mentor, coach, and develop your direct reports?
  • What was the next career move for the role’s previous incumbent?
  • What did the previous incumbent accomplish in the role?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with your direct reports?
  • How do you prefer to receive information from your direct reports?
  • In person, email, telephone, text message, other?
  • How frequently do team members work remotely?
  • How frequently do you want updates from your direct reports?
  • How do you and your team integrate work and life priorities toward “work-life balance”?
  • How would you describe your work style?
  • Your management style?
  • Your leadership style?
  • Your decision style?
  • How do you manage conflict within the team?
  • With other organizations?
  • What are your three most important values?
  • How do your direct reports describe your management style?
  • What are the characteristics of the best manager you’ve worked with?
  • How are you and your team perceived in the organization?

Questions to ask the prospective manager’s direct reports (peers to target role)

  • What are the manager’s job priorities?
  • How does the manager develop, coach, and mentor direct reports?
  • How frequently does the manager provide feedback?
  • What work and person characteristics does the manager value?
  • How would you describe the manager’s work style?
  • What is the manager’s decision process?
  • How does the manager deal with conflict?
  • To what extent does the manager involve you and your peers in decisions?
  • To what extent does the manager support work-life balance?
  • What are the manager’s strengths?
  • What are the manager’s development areas?
  • What are the manager’s “hot buttons” or “pet peeves”?
  • How does the manager prefer to communicate with you and your team?
  • How does the manager prefer to receive information?
  • How is the manager viewed in the organization?
  • With what roles and organizations are manager allied?
  • Who are the manager’s mentors in the organization?
  • What advice would you give to the person selected for this role to ensure a positive working relationship with the manager?

These queries can’t guard against managers who leave the role a few days after you start, or re-organizations and restructurings that leave you reporting to a new manager in a new role in a new group, but they may provide additional guidance to potential “warning signs” of job mismatch or “misemployment.”

-*What questions have you found most effective in assessing work style “fit” and compatibility with a potential manager?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

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