Are You On Santa’s Naughty List This Year?

January 14, 2014 Vince Molinaro

Santa's naughty list

The holidays are upon us and Santa has checked his list not once, but twice. He knows if you have been naughty or nice as a leader.  Do you know which list you would show up on?

If I were Santa, here are the top three ways that would guarantee that you’d be on my leadership naughty list.  How do you stack up?

1)      Have you been a bully or asshole this year?

Did you routinely demean your people? Did you ridicule or embarrass employees in public? Did you abuse your power as a leader? If so, you would most certainly be on Santa’s naughty list. Sometimes leaders feel they are justified to act like bullies when company performance is down, you are losing market share, or key projects are stalling. However, I don’t believe any of those business pressures justifies bad behavior. While these actions may generate a short-term sense of urgency from your people, it often comes at a huge price in terms of their personal engagement. Ultimately, this behavior undermines the confidence of employees and makes their performance decline even further.

2)      Have you failed to act on a poor performer?

This is a sure fire way to get on Santa’s naughty list.  When you don’t have the courage to confront a poor performer, you do a disservice to the individual in question, your team and, ultimately, your entire company. Poor performers are not hard to spot, and in many cases everyone in your organization will know who they are. However, over time, your people will stop resenting the poor performer and start resenting the fact that you are not doing anything about it. This will undermine your credibility and, once again, this makes the original problem much bigger.

3)      Have you been a bystander?

Leaders get paid to get important things done. But sometimes leaders stand around watching projects implode, targets being missed or chronic problems become worse. Even though they know what’s going on, they fail to step up to make things better. When you act as a bystander, you ensure your organization will never prosper or evolve. How have you acted as a bystander this year? More importantly, how has this prevented your company for moving forward and succeeding?

This week’s gut check question asks:  are you on Santa’s naughty list this year?  Take some time to reflect on your performance as a leader in 2013. You may not like which side of Santa’s list you end up on.

I want to close by wishing you a great holiday season and encourage you to come back in early January for my weekly gut check for leaders.  Happy Holidays!

About the Author

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro is the Global Managing Director of Strategic Solutions at Lee Hecht Harrison. He is also the author of The Leadership Contract – a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Vince has spent more than 20 years as an adviser to boards and senior executives looking to improve leadership in their organizations.

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Comment on Are You On Santa’s Naughty List This Year? by Liane Davey

Vince, what a fantastic post. Lumps of coal for all three of your naughty leaders!...

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