The danger of power struggles at a senior level

July 23rd 2021 | Posted by Dave

The danger of power struggles at a senior level

The danger of power struggles at a senior level

The culture within an organisation is central to its success. A supportive and open environment promotes employee engagement and innovation.

Conversely, an environment where there is a lack of security and trust causes employees to disengage and can lead to a toxic culture. Top-performing executives realise that power struggles at the senior level cause imbalance, uncertainty, and mistrust in the organisation. They know that there are certain issues that are often a direct result of senior-level power struggles. It’s interesting to take a closer look at these issues and the danger they represent.

Reluctance to share information

One of the most valuable things that happen within an organisation is the sharing of information. It creates a culture where people work together for the good of the organisation overall.

Power struggles inhibit the sharing of information in a couple of important ways. People who are involved in the struggle keep information to themselves as they believe it gives them power and employees at all levels of the organisation perceive an environment where not sharing is the safest path to take.

Fear of failure

Power struggles at the top of an organisation cause ripples that make everyone feel less secure. In this type of culture, people are reluctant to take any risks or experiment because they are unsure of what will happen if they fail.

This reduces innovation levels and potentially stifles growth. It also puts pressure on the leaders of the organisation as they are forced to attempt to create and innovate themselves rather than having support from the employees.

Growth of a blame culture

When there is a struggle for power at the senior level, less aware and ethical leaders often see fear and control as a means of securing the power they crave. This is a hugely destructive approach.

Employees who work within this type of culture begin to point the finger at others in order to avoid any potential blame themselves. Successful leaders understand the dangers of this as mistrust and dysfunction spread throughout the organisation.

Fear of feeding back

Where there is a struggle at board level in an organisation there also tends to be a guarded attitude from people at all levels. They are unsure where the organisation is going and under what leadership. This makes them reluctant to share their thoughts and insights honestly.

This aversion to providing honest feedback is dangerous to an organisation. It prevents an understanding of the current situation and makes it difficult to plan ahead effectively.

It’s clear that power struggles are bad for an organisation, and potentially debilitating. The most successful senior leaders understand that any such struggles are not productive. They know that a culture where power struggles happen stifles creativity and innovation. Only when these struggles become a thing of the past can organisations start to recognise success, encourage innovation, and promote sharing to achieve. When this happens, an organisation is in a better position to be successful.

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