It’s a busy time of year for both of them and if it’s not hard enough trying to deliver excellence to a tight 25th December deadline, they’ve got the added pressures of working alongside their spouse. Feeling undervalued and underpaid, Mrs C is a pretty resentful and angry member of the team at the moment so, as you can imagine, things are a little fraught.
Some of you may remember that in 2012, Mr C was given a rather scathing leadership evaluation that cited its core problems as ‘lack of leadership visibility, poor succession planning and talent management, ill-conceived objective settings, inability to tackle issues of conflict and poor communication’. (Read the 2012 evaluation blog HERE)
Not much has changed. While a further Leadership Evaluation of Mr C as CEO of Santa Claus Ltd has revealed he’s made progress in the areas of training and development for his reindeers and elves, with coaching where needed and workshops teaching them the basis of team excellence and human performance. However, even with these leadership approaches, he still seems to be failing in his support of the team in providing motivation and inspiration.
Of course it is due to the pressure mounting to achieve the results by 25th December. Performance overall is suffering and employees are starting to crack under the pressure to achieve greatness. Evaluating his leadership style again in 2015, we find that Mr C is a Pragmatist – a leadership style that is at the greatest risk of pushing people too hard. Although a Pragmatist can achieve amazing results (Mr C proudly boasts that his leadership style is the same as Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo), Pragmatists have high standards, and they expect themselves and their employees to meet these standards. Mr C, however, is displaying the three keys signs that his leadership style has gotten too tough:
1. When he walks into a room people stop talking – a sure sign that there has been a line crossed from respect to fear. There’s a difference between a room quietening gently when you enter to create order, versus the team shutting-up mid-sentence out of fear
2. When he gives constructive feedback employees are very quiet – when the recipient of his constructive criticism sits there quietly without much response, it’s often an indicator that they’ve gone into ‘mental shutdown’, perhaps trying to survive a ‘verbal berating’
3. In meetings, he tends to do more than 60% of the talking – there’s a difference between a meeting and an assembly. In a meeting, you have brought those people into the room to gather their input and to encourage ideas sharing and innovative thoughts, but sometimes he does all the talking because his team is too afraid to open their mouths.
Although not an official leader of Santa Claus Ltd – and certainly without the pay packet to match her skill and commitment – it has long been left to Mrs C to provide the stability and guidance their employees need. Mrs C feels recognition is long overdue; she is undervalued, underpaid and has no say in how the business is being run.
Her desire for recognition is not unsubstantiated either. On 1st December, Mr C starts blazing a trail across grottos, shopping centres and school assemblies in a series of events that Mrs C has spent the whole year meticulously planning.
Not that she wants to be the centre of attention, what she’s not happy about though is that despite working more hours than him and virtually running the company, she gets less pay and not being on the board, has no ultimate decision in managing the business.
In fact, Santa Claus Ltd has the grand total of no female board members, despite the fact that pressure is now on organisations with over 250 employees (we hear Santa Claus Ltd has several hundred elves on its books) to have a board made up of at least 30% females.
Mrs C also suspects a substantial pay gap between the male and female members of Santa Claus Ltd. Again, she’s heard that in the UK, laws are being introduced to force companies, hospitals, charities, schools and universities to reveal the gap between men and women’s pay, including bonuses, to drive an end to wage inequality.
What’s more, Mrs C knows she has a lot to offer and has questioned why she hasn’t taken action sooner. But it’s never too late to move up the executive pipeline and she’s been thinking about enrolling on Oakridge’s STRIDE leadership programme for women. Vixen can come with her too, she’s a key driver in the distribution centre and having read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, she’s asked Mrs C several times why she isn’t on the board either.
So Mrs C has been proactive. She’s already requested a meeting with Mr Claus to look at how change can be initiated with as little disruption as possible to the business and productivity. With Oakridge supporting these endeavours, she’s sure Mr Claus will embark on a series of performance reviews with his team and following 360 feedback, accept that an Oakridge leadership development programme is what is needed to ensure Santa Claus Ltd survives in this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment.
Having mooted these ideas to him, Mr Claus seems to be extremely willing and open-minded. He told her: “2016 will see a clearer vision, with open dialogue across all team members; I want to encourage even the introverts to have a voice. We will also be embracing diversity by appointing you and Miss Vixen to the board and as the new leadership team, we can create a strategic plan and a competency framework, which will carry our values statement specifically aligned to the organisational agenda. Roll on 2016!”
Mrs C thought all her Christmases had come at once…