Why Your Leaders Aren’t Meeting Deadlines

Why Your Leaders Aren’t Meeting Deadlines 507 337 C-Suite Network

By Emily Capito, LCSW, MBA

via Getty Images

Tired of hearing excuses in your leadership and management meetings? Juggling a leadership role with day-to-day tasks, plus varying projects, can present a challenge for even the most organized. Prevent your senior talent from coming to a grinding halt with some early intervention and effective role modeling. Consider some of the most common ailments below, diagnose the root problem, and empower your leaders to work in their strengths at full speed again.

Manpower Deficiency

Inadequate staff is the go-to scapegoat for a variety of symptoms. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the culprit. Don’t buy into the stunted workforce excuse right away unless you’re dealing with a highly productive executive. You’ll know the problem was misdiagnosed when additional employees are quickly absorbed with no measurable impact.
In order to examine the genuine cause, spend a full day with your executive. If they genuinely need support, they’ll be eager to share their agenda with you and get better aligned with priorities. You’ll probably find clues during the process that ferret out the real problem and the cure.

Committee Chair Cancer

Often the No.1 cause of declining productivity, committee leadership assignments can spread like cancer. Great ideas and opportunities come from every possible source, including the project teams themselves. The knee-jerk reaction is to task the new committee to the relevant senior manager. Before long, each of your executives have so many meetings to attend and lead that they have no time left to actually do anything themselves.
Instead, encourage your senior leaders to assign a team leader who has the interest and bandwidth to perform. The leader can come from any level of your organization and should submit a regular, succinct status update to the relevant executive. You’ll free up your most valuable talent to do more than sit at a table while vetting future leaders.

Paper Pushing Disease

As organizations grow, there becomes a need to control certain activities and ensure consistent results. Forms and checklists are born. Paperwork production continues to churn in response to new requirements, but there is no urgent call for form revisions or retirements to balance it out.
Suspect a paperwork infection? Spend a full day with one of your administrators and watch for useless or cumbersome procedures. Does the sales manager really need to get written approval for every office supply order? Does the incident report form need to be three pages long? Conduct a “paperwork-ectomy.” Pull a team of your eager intrapreneurs together, spring for pizza and take a day or two to save trees and time with simpler, more efficient processes.

Productivity Parasites

It’s easy to allow the most productive member of the executive team to take on assignments and projects that other department heads should be overseeing. Instead of addressing the problem, whether inefficiency, poor time management or another syndrome, the eager volunteer is allowed to overwhelm their own schedule until they burn out.
Watch for these top producers on your leadership teams, and keep them focused on their roles; don’t allow other team members to pass their tasks across the table in the name of it getting done. By holding your entire team accountable to results, you will foster consistent and effective leadership.  


Emily CapitoEmily Capito is a capacity-building consultant working with young organizations to scale growth and successfully transition from startup to self-sustaining. Formerly the COO of a large nonprofit where she consistently pushed the limits to establish the organization as an industry innovator, Emily catalyzes transformational growth. You can find free resources here: emilycapito.com and her blog here: blog.impactignition.com.
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