When things are going well leaders/senior managers take a more relaxed view of their role letting their managers get on with it. When things are not going well the temptation is to get more involved in the day to day stuff. This is a sure way of making things worse.
Interfering only undermines managers authority and confidence whilst causing confusing as people pick up on conflicting messages. Rather than getting more involved leaders/senior managers need to show confidence in their managers abilities to over come the problems. They show this by offering practical support as in asking, “ What do you need from me to help you get things back on track?”
You don’t lose confidence in a manager because things have gone wrong you lose confidence in a manager because they did not give you an early warning that things were going wrong. If midway through the financial year you’re informed the organisation is heading for an overspend corrective action can be taken to get the budget back on track. If the first you here of a big over spend is as the end of year accounts are being drawn up there is nothing you can do about it.
What this means is that an effective leader welcomes bad news given early. The management mantra is,”no surprises”. Unfortunately in many organisations the culture is don’t pass bad news upwards it will not be well received. This is the blame culture where the response to bad news is ,”who is responsible” with the implication that decisive action requires someone to be dismissed. In such a climate of fear managers hide mistakes or hold off giving bad news in the hope they can rectify the situation before it comes to light.
Effective leaders don’t rush in when things are not going to plan and they don’t seek to allocate blame. They project calm ( even if this is a facade cultivated over years to instil confidence). Confidence that their managers can solve the problem(s) with their support (and possibly some additional resources).