There is no shortage of news about business leaders whose destructive behavior has led to epic business meltdowns. These stories are consistent with scientific evidence that erratic, overconfident, self-promoting, manipulative, deceptive, and especially unrealistic leaders destroy organizations.
This type of behavior provides the basis for big stories and spice up the headlines for all major business news. But deep within organizations lies an even more insidious problem: the problem of the absence of leadership.
Absentee leaders are those who have been promoted to leadership positions, usually middle managers, but are not actually leading. These “leaders” enjoy all the privileges of leadership but are largely disengaged, if not actively disengaged, with their teams. Worse still, they often act as roadblocks to performance improvement and organizational progress by simply refusing to act or elevating organizational problems to a higher level. Their staff becomes frustrated, alienated and disengaged, and many will choose other roles within the organization or leave the organization altogether.
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