Why Businesses Fail (Part 3)

Bill Pollock

Bill Pollock


When a Leader with Injelititis Gains Control of Your Company

In part two of this three-part series on leaders with Injelititis, we talked about the importance of reaching out to your employees to find out what they are really thinking and feeling. The purpose is to pinpoint the levels of engagement and other issues affecting performance, turnover, and organizational growth. This fail knowledge will provide a framework of any discontent that is taking hold.

You want all your employees to look forward to going to work. Their jobs should not provoke unhealthy stress. You want them to stay because they respect their boss, enjoy their co-workers, the atmosphere and the potential to grow.

But what happens if you do nothing and Injeltitis is left unchecked and rises through the ranks to the top of the company? Or, worse, the Board of Directors chooses a leader for the company’s top position from outside the company who has all the symptoms of Injelititis?


Has your worst nightmare been realized? 

Without being too dramatic, the organization may be doomed. It might not happen right away, but the consequences of leadership incompetence will take hold with negative results for all internal and external stakeholders.

"63 percent of employees don't trust their CEOs, claiming their company leaders are somewhat or not at all credible". Edelman Trust Barometer

Leadership is usually at the heart of most serious issues. That’s because effective leadership is almost always the main driver for a company’s growth and profitability. Leadership has a direct cause and effect relationship upon organizations and their success. 


How do leaders with Injelititis rise through the ranks anyway? 

In C. Northcote Parkinson’s view, it happens like this: “If the head of the organization is second-rate, he will see to it that his immediate staff are all third-rate; and they will, in turn, see to it that their subordinates are fourth-rate.” - C. Northcote Parkinson

 What Parkinson was saying is that leaders with Injelititis behaviours (incompetence and jealousy) don’t want those who are smarter and more capable to be hired or promoted. They don’t want anyone who is more qualified and competent to be part of the team and preferably, not even in the company. They are good at sabotage. 

“The injelitant individual is easily recognizable from the persistence with which he struggles to eject all those abler than himself.” - C. Northcott Parkinson

 The fear is that their own incompetency will be put on display for all to see. They must jealously control the hiring process and only bring on board those less qualified than themselves, so they look gifted by comparison. These new and less qualified hires will in turn jealousy guard their domain, and down the line it goes. By controlling the hires and quietly sabotaging those who are more skilled, moving upwards for leaders with Injelititis becomes much easier. 

“A higher level of competency is not desired.” - C. Northcote Parkinson


Before the company spirals down any further, you need to take additional action

You have used data analytics to get a statistical picture of the organization to see hotspots. You know, for example, that there are leadership issues based on turnover levels and absenteeism. You’ve been able to zero in on core employee issues through engagement surveys.


Now it’s time to drill down and ask these questions: 

  • Am I confident our hiring practices are truly effective and consistent throughout the company?
  • Do our practices enable us to determine the best fit for the role and our culture?
  • Are we accurately evaluating candidates’ skills, knowledge, and behaviours?
  • Are we incorporating behavioural interviewing and assessments?
  • Are we conducting thorough background checks?
  • Is our HR department overloaded and do we need help with our recruitment processes?
  • Do we know the attributes of our company’s top-performing leaders?
  • How are we helping our managers develop into effective leaders?
  • What are our training and coaching programs?
  • Are our onboarding and orientation procedures strong and well-received?


Your answers are critically important. Change can’t happen if everything stays the same, or if there are cracks. This is when leaders with Injelititis can sneak in and rise to the top. 

“He burned out the team”

“My boss was very smart, creative AND a master at managing up.  He would come up with a great idea a week, with no clue on the impact of the team to actually implement each successive great idea.  Senior management loved his ideas, but he burned out the team and he didn’t care. Consequentially, no one would work with him.” - Senior Executive, Technology Industry


Let’s look at the flip side of incompetent leaders: ‘Transformational’ leaders 

Transformational leaders stand out because of their expertise, knowledge, vision and people skills. They want those they guide to be the best they can be. With this encouragement and support, they easily secure team buy-in and get results that make a difference. These secure leaders understand the importance of surrounding themselves with highly qualified and productive individuals. Everyone benefits.  

What personality traits do these transformational leaders have? How do leaders (such as those with Injelititis) in a similar role compare? Finding out is as easy as conducting a ‘peer to peer’ profile comparison. Click here to find out how.


You can use this comparison information in several important ways:

  • To identify the personality characteristics of your top performers
  • To develop a profile of what you are looking for in qualified candidates
  • To refer to these personality traits when you are considering promoting someone from within, and for succession planning
  • To pinpoint the skills and abilities gaps for ongoing coaching and training


You now have a profile of your high performing leaders. You know what abilities and traits they bring that are driving morale, engagement and productivity. You can see the gaps when you look at the profile of leaders with InjelititisThe next major consideration are your hiring practices and processes. If you are going to hire the most qualified candidates and fix or weed out the Injelititis wrecking balls, you need consistent HR hiring practices, processes, and development programs. Many companies struggle by not having a consistent hiring process that everyone follows. Others don’t have enough internal HR support. Managers may have poor interviewing skills. In all cases, the quality of your hires and therefore your bottom line is at risk. 

When we look at how Injelititis can take hold, you can’t afford to hire counterfeit candidates disguised as transformational leaders. You need to hire the right person, the first time. From resume screening to behavioural interviewing to background checks and more, support is a click away.

Incompetency kills companies. But incompetent leaders do sneak in, rise to the top and highjack companies. Your only hope is to ensure that you’re employing strong strategies such as analytics and surveys and implementing powerful and consistent hiring processes.

In Parkinson’s words: “When Injelititis rises to the top, the institution is for all practical purposes, dead.”


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