A few weeks ago, I wrote that if your team is not performing well, it is your fault as the leader. My point was that it is the things you do as a direct supervisor that most directly affect the engagement and performance of your team.
I received some strong feedback on this. I was not surprised. Whenever I say something like this in a presentation or a conversation, inevitably someone takes exception. They may talk about how those above them in their organization sabotage their efforts to run an effective team. They may say their boss does not listen to them, does not treat them well, and does not model good leadership or support their efforts. They may say that the organization as a whole seems not to care about the things they try to do for their team.
I don’t consider a boss’s poor leadership and an organization’s lack of support as valid reasons to not do our best to be an effective team leader. We have all worked in or seen small groups perform well inside poor organizations. It should be our goal to have our team do well, no matter what our boss or our organization does.
And it will be our boss’s fault when we take our well-developed leadership skills – skills we developed despite them – and move on to another organization that we think will support us better. This is the cost and the risk they run by not working on their leadership skills as we develop our own.
Some thoughts to take the edge off a bad day under a bad boss or to help you make the jump to a new opportunity: