We've all seen it, and some of us have lived it...SENIORITIS. No, not the "care-free, summer is almost here, rules don't apply to me, they can't keep me from graduating" attitude we all have during those last couple of days...weeks...months of school.
What I'm talking about is far FAR WORSE! It's SENIORITIS in the Senior Management of your organization, and unfortunately, it's more common than you think.
How do you know you or the sr. mgmt within your organization is having a bad case of SENIORITIS? Simply ask "when was the last time the organization tried innovating?" And I'm not talking about simply adding a new product or service your competitor offers or automating a back-room process. When was the last time your organization stepped out on a limb and put some serious time and $$$ behind an idea that had great upside, but also had a high chance of failure?
If you're answer makes you uncomfortable because you honestly don't remember, then you've identified - and will hopefully change :) - your SENIORITIS ways.
Let's identify the 3 main causes of SENIORITIS:
1) Your professional level/position has outpaced your personal development.
This one is easy, everyone gets promoted into jobs they're not ready for or need some time to "season" in. The problem exists when an individual looks at their promotion to the c-suite more as a reward for 30+ years of doing good work (towing the company line) rather than as a responsibility to step up into a new level or realm of leadership.
2) Fear of offending the previous management group.
Yes, this exists. The previous CFO, COO, CEO, etc. may be the founder, board member, or simply a major shareholder. There's almost this natural fear of doing something different, and by doing so, offending someone. NEWSFLASH!!! Everyone has their own leadership style and if you're going to lead the same way the previous leadership has for the last 20 years, expect to get the same results and expect to be 20 years behind your competitors in innovation & revenue (their leadership is likely looking forward 20 years, so maybe the gap is more like 40 years).
3.) Haven't shaken the employee/manager mindset.
You are no longer a rank and file, manager, group leader, director or VP! You are now at the top of your organization. It is time to start working harder 'ON' the biz than 'IN' it. You shouldn't be attending all of the same meetings & committees you did in your last role. Your management team shouldn't come to you seeking decisions you previously had to make - that's now their job, and your job is to get out of their way and let it happen! You should be focused on "big picture" items, personnel, succession planning, culture, industry trends, etc.
OK, "How do I 'snap out' of this case of SENIORITIS?"
Remember 2 key responsibilities of leaders that often go forgotten:
1.) drive innovation
2.) create an environment focused on innovation
Break down the barriers for innovation in your organization. Remove the countless committees, group think/decision-making that's been bogging down the process. Think like an entrepreneur. Invite new ideas. Leave your mark. Focus on the legacy of your leadership and the impact it'll have for 10, 20 or 30 years.
In short, be bigger than you've ever been!
husband + father + pilot + Leadership Coach | Consultant + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books