The fish rots from the head

Organisations may find themselves at a point where they are dealing with many fall outs, high staff attrition, lost business and a general dis ease in their business.

Very few are keen to admit that the problem might really be with its leadership.

The proverb, “the fish rots from the head” in business suggests that leadership is the root cause of an organisation’s failure and demise. This is true whether that organisation is a country or a company or just a small team.

We need to understand that leadership affects and determines culture through the things it rewards, pays attention to and shapes really how things are done. For example, in the corporate environment, there’s a common phrase that says “nice guys finish last.” This phrase is normally accompanied by a culture of backstabbing, dishonesty and cutting corners. Everyone becomes insecure and endevours to drive sharp bargains.

In his article, Rick Crandall states that the top leader’s job is to create the right internal climate for the organisation. He states that organisational climate embodies the intangible feelings your people have about your organisation. You can’t directly control the attitudes of everyone under you. But if you accept the fact that you are responsible, regardless, then you can focus on creating a desirable organizational climate. 

Crandall ends off with; you need to work with your people in an atmosphere of respect. Your job is to support them in doing their jobs, which ultimately serves customers. You can’t change all the external issues that create stress. But your people will appreciate being heard, respected, and involved, and will respond to your efforts to improve things. 

As a leader, one needs to have a concious awareness of their actions at all times, this is the place that one begins to become impactful.


2 responses

  1. This is true, especially with what’s happening in Marikana. Organizations like Sasol, BHP and the likes don’t have such problems because they have put up structures that takes care of the employees (medical aid, pension fund and some, housing). Even though I don’t agree with R12500 (I mean really we should talk margins not figures on the rocks), their work and living conditions should be compensated to give a sense they’re being cared for. All this will take the head to realize the rot & taking mitigating action


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