Resources: Blog Post

January 28, 2016

CEOs ‘Don’t Get No Respect’

Ian's Morning Musing image

It was Rodney Dangerfield who came up with the immortal words, “I don’t get no respect.”

For anyone following the painstaking presidential process south of the border, Ted Cruz could be saying the same thing – simply because he was born in Canada. So, fair game, that means we disqualify Trump from being our next prime minister.

As staggering as it is to many, Trump is leading in the Iowa poll with a predicted 47 per cent of the vote and Marco Rubio follows at 30 per cent. Given the many outlandish things Trump has said, why does it seem as though so many people are prepared to vote for him?

And let’s not ridicule the U.S. voters – who was the best mayor Toronto ever had? The answer: Rob Ford. And how do we know that’s the case? Because Rob Ford told us he was. That’s exactly what Trump is telling Americans. He states, in a very matter-of -fact way, that he is a fantastically smart, successful businessman, which means he can run a country equally well.

As ludicrous as this is, he has simplified complex problems with shallow solutions that have obviously made him appear quite credible to large numbers of people. His blunt way of “calling it as he sees it,” (a.k.a. speak before you think), is refreshingly different from his political opponents who are so carefully programmed about what they say, that many simply view them as politicians who can’t be trusted.

On the other hand, Trump seems more human, with lots of faults, and it even seems as if the more faults you have, the more people seem to like you. Let’s not forget that, even after Rob Ford withdrew from the mayoral race last year, Doug Ford took 34 per cent of the vote. As Marcus Gee said in a Globe & Mail article, “both Ford and Trump feed on a pervasive disenchantment with politics and politicians. For them, the rants unleashed by these raging bulls against a privileged political class and overfed, inefficient governments ring true. In a plastic political world, they (people) are desperate for something real.”

If this disenchantment is so real, does it carry over into our expectations of organizations? According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 13 per cent of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report reveals that culture and engagement, and then leadership, rank first and second in importance, yet show the biggest gap between importance and capability. There is so much written about engagement. Myriads of commentators have told us what needs to be done to fix the problems. As much as Ford and Trump hit the nerve on what irks people, Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign with an attack on CEO pay and lamented that American families face financial hardships at a time, “when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes.” In public companies, we all know the amount of water cooler chat that goes on when the compensation of the top five executive positions is published.

My point is very basic: Good leadership is integral to creating the type of workplaces that motivate employees to do the best work they possibly can. On the other hand, does a pervasive disillusionment of employees create unrealistic expectations of what complex organizations and its leaders can reasonably deliver when trying to operate efficiently? It conjures up the old joke between what you say when you recruit, versus what the employee experiences when he/she shows up for work. The gap between “promise” and “delivery” is sometimes such a disappointment that disengagement is almost immediate.

In SCNetwork’s February 10th session, Vince Molinaro will explore the leadership side of the equation, starting from the position that too many leaders are lame. Cited in his book, a Maritz poll claims that only seven per cent of employees have confidence that the senior leaders in their organizations are looking out for their best interests. Just as we seem to have lost faith in politicians, Vince asks whether it possible that we are losing faith in our institutions?

So, at our event, we shall address the leadership challenge this poses and what we can do about it. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how we must step up – or get out.

About the AuthorIan Hendry headshopt
Ian Hendry is the president of the Strategic Capability Network. In his Morning Musings, he provides insight on issues facing today’s business leaders and looks at subject matter related to upcoming SCNetwork events. He is also VP HR & Administration at Interac Association.

Filed under: ceo, ian hendry, leadership, upcoming event Tagged: ceo, leadership, morning musing
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