Jack Welch, chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001

Effective and Ineffective Leadership

Are you an effective leader?

Winning Teams will help you to identify effective leaders (and ineffective leaders) and senior management teams that can create an organization that will more than survive; it will become a high growth organization and grow over the long term. Winning Teams addresses:

An effective leader will ensure that the organization survives and thrives. An ineffective leader could mean the organization fails.

If you are part of a senior management team (leader or team member), or if you are thinking of starting a business, you can learn here from what others have done that made them successful, and from the mistakes of those that have led to their failure. An ineffective leader can be more than just ineffective; an ineffective leader with a personality disorder can be the death of an organization. And some personality disorders are very difficult to detect.

The vast majority (over 95 per cent) of companies that survive in modern economies do not grow other than during the initial stage from start-up to becoming established.1, 2 This is because the main objective of the leaders of these 'lifestyle' organizations is to create the status they desire and to generate sufficient income to meet their lifestyle needs. 'Growth' organizations which tend to grow year on year, are in the minority. Growth organizations generally have a senior management team of two or more individuals, one of whom (the leader) is growth orientated.

Winning Teams will enable you to identify effective leaders with the right personality characteristics and a growth orientation, and identify team members with the most suitable personality characteristics. It will also help you identify ineffective leaders and ineffective team members, including ineffective leaders. The percentage of neurotics, paranoiacs and narcissists currently working as senior executives is surprisingly high, although this may be due to career success, especially promotion to a top management position, which can trigger an executive's narcissistic tendencies.3

Emergent vs effective leaders

As already established (see 'Can you build a winning team?') there is very little literature relating to 'growth' senior management teams due to the difficulty encountered in trying to research them.4, 5 And whilst there has been a lot written about leaders and executives with personality disorders, e.g. narcissists, there has been little empirical research in this area specific to leaders (CEOs) or senior management team members. Michael Maccoby6 stated about narcissistic leaders in the Harvard Business Review that "...psychoanalysts don't usually get close enough to them, especially in the workplace, to write about them." Winning Teams is, therefore, a unique resource for entrepreneurs, especially with its additional information on how to recognize "The real disease of many executives ...narcissism."7

Read on to identify what is needed to establish a successful growth organization, and how to avoid the pitfalls relating to teaming up with the wrong person or persons. Finding the right leader is of critical importance. The person who puts him or herself forward as the one to lead the team may be completely ineffective as a leader. In fact, that person may be the worst possible leader. Many people think that all leadership involves is giving orders and sounding important. They are wrong! There is a lot more to being a successful leader. The literature differentiates between the emergent leader (the person who puts him or herself forward for the job) and the effective leader. If you want to be part of a successful (growth) organization the only option is the effective leader.8

If you want to understand more about effective and ineffective leadership, read Narcissism: Behind the Mask.

1 Storey, D.J. (1994), Understanding The Small Business Sector, International Thompson Business Press, London.
2 Orser, B.J., Hogarth-Scott, S. and Riding, A.L. (2000), Performance, firm size, and management problem solving, Journal of Small Business Management, (USA), Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 42-59.
3 Kets de Vries, M.F.R. (1985), Narcissism and leadership: An object relations perspective, Human Relations, Vol. 38, pp. 583-601.
4 Cromie, S. and Callaghan I. (1997) Assessing Enterprise Attributes - The Usefulness of Caird's General Enterprising Tendency (GET) Test, Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 4, pp. 65-71.
5 Lessem R. and Baruch Y. (2000), Testing the SMT and Belbin inventories in top management teams, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 75-84.
6 Maccoby, M. (2000), Narcissistic leaders: the incredible pros, the inevitable cons, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2000, p. 75.
7 Kets de Vries, M. (2003), The dark side of leadership, Business Strategy Review, Autumn 2003, Vol. 14, Iss. 3. p. 26.
8 Belbin, R.M. (1981), Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, Heinemann, London.