Champion Leadership Tip #36: Great Leaders Address Issues Promptly

Last week I had lunch with the executive director of a growing regional not-for-profit for whom I had closed a “Champion Organization” development project in March after six months. We met so that he could update me on the agency’s progress and identify issues to be addressed moving forward.

Just as he sat down I showed him the “Champion Organizations” plaque I was going to present to him and his agency and he said, “that’s great, thank you, and now I’m in the middle of an issue that is challenging that Champion Organization.”

It turns out one of the key executive team members with whom I worked during the project was having challenges leading his team members.

For a number of reasons, all personal issues, he stopped following the systems, processes and agreements we had put in place to ensure the positive, successful growth of the agency and its personnel.great leaders address issues directly and do not procrastinate.

Over lunch we spent some time discussing a strategy to immediately address the issue. The individual will be returing from vacation this week and a 1:1 conversation is going to take place between the executive director and this senior position on his staff.

After the conversation the executive director will make a decision whether this individual will continue with the agency. Due to issues among the operation of the agency prior to our “Champion Organizations” project the transgressions must be dealt with in a serious manner so that a message can be sent that this effort is not just a passing fad.

Individuals who are direct reports of this senior leader have worked under others in that role in which issues were allowed to linger, which caused significant morale, motivation problems among the staff and negatively impacting customer service within the community.

I am confident my client, the executive director, will effectively address the issue and make the right decision moving forward. It will not be easy, either way, but a decision and a strategy is what is necessary to bring the situation back to equilibrium.

How many times are significant issues brought to an organization’s leader with hard evidence from numerous sources where the situation is allowed to fester and continue, negatively impacting employee morale, employee motivation and productivity throughout the organization, department, or division?

Great leaders address issues in a timely manner with respect and empathy after accumulating hard, factual evidence from reliable sources, and then make decisions accordingly.

It is a habit that must be developed in anyone desiring to lead teams and organizations. It is what being a leader is all about. It was a lesson I learned the hard way (losing my first marriage over a simillar situation) but that’s a story for another day.

Have a great week!