When the leader is missing- consequences of a wrong change

Some days ago, I met with a person who works for a well-known Italian company, and then with another one who works for a much smaller company in a completely different industry. Both these people have hands on the job roles. In both companies, the leader had been replaced. I was struck by their reflections, simple and surprisingly similar.

Here is what they told me:

“You know, he (the boss) often called on us, we saw him around the company. And he always stopped to talk to us and asked us how things were. When something was out of place, he immediately pointed it out and let us know. We can feel the difference now that he’s gone, because things have changed a lot.”


“We still haven’t seen the new CEO, and he’s been appointed for a while now. There’s less pressure. There are no news and some choices made by the new CEO turned out to be the wrong ones. What will become of us…”.

A leader involves people and exchanges opinions

A wrong choice at top management level is perceived at once from the bottom. The working staff immediately notices the change in pace, the attention paid the quality of the product or of the service offered, the attention towards customers, people, costs. It’s from the details that you can understand an organization. Those who have operative jobs notice details at once.

Michelangelo wrote that “a great work is made of small details”.

The old, stale Boards of Administration take notice all too late of the effects of a wrong change in the top management. The effects of wrong strategical choices show up after years, and that’s because the top management has broken out of the habit of visiting the plants, talking to people and listening to suggestions from those who work on the field. They only base their decisions on numbers, outlooks, reports and now on online meetings, too.

As long as things are smooth, the new CEO can ride the coattails of the strategical choices made by the previous Chief Executive Officer. The economical results are still positive, everything goes well. However, it’s in troubled times like these that the good leaders show their qualities.

Nowadays, with new technologies, new business trends, possibilities and new global players, there’s no room for mistakes. Everything is accelerated and the entire business must be guided towards new goals and towards new ways of entrepreneurship.

The results of wrong strategical choices can be seen after some time. It’s a question of leadership. The wrong choices immediately translate into daily actions that are detected by the working staff, that is, those who are tasked with bringing them into being.

A leader inspires trust

Doubt quickly creeps inside people’s mind and doubtful people spread their doubt until the company’s climate changes, shifting from a positive phase to a negative, pessimist one.

Concerns that the CEO may not be a good leader start to make their way throughout the company, the first resignations are handed in, the general effort is not consistent anymore. The organization starts to waver, but it’s too late.

Unfortunately, the shareholders are the last to notice. They are so convinced by their choices they ignore the rumors.

The two CEOs that were replaced both had a vision that was strategic for their companies, they possessed a strong entrepreneurial attitude and regarded with great care the product/service, the quality and efficiency, as well as the financial situation. They were managers who knew how to involve the entire staff and instill trust, so that everyone could work together to accomplish increasingly daring goals and be rewarded for the effort.

The two CEOs that are now missed were first of all leaders, managers and entrepreneurs. Besides possessing a strategic vision, they could talk to people, generating trust and enthusiasm and thus achieving great successes. They possessed strong leadership skills.

So, pay attention to the choice of your number ones.

Angelo Vergani

Contract Manager s.r.l.