The Leadership Challenge: Indifference – 3 Tips!

The Point: We all want leaders to lead with their “skin” so to speak in the game. Leaders that are so vested in the outcome of the operation that “whatever it takes” is not only the organizational motto, but performance measuring stick for what’s the desired result achieved (and if not, why not?) But what if your leadership team, or you, are not leading by example with such effort/energy? What if you aren’t doing your part to accomplish goals? In this post, we’ll explore the leadership challenge of indifference and provide 3 tips to help you make a difference… Enjoy!

The Leadership Challenge: Indifference – 3 Tips!

I Believe That We Can Win – Banishing Indifference!

At Tip of the Spear Ventures and our private equity holding operations, we’re fortunate to see many leaders in action (and just as many leadership styles). For example, Jim is one of the platform leaders that excels. He is a leader that sets goals, accomplishes goals, sets new goals, accomplishes new goals, and on and on. Quick to provide credit for his team, his leadership style prompts those around him to excel in their own rights as well. He is truly making a difference, and cultivating future leaders for other platform opportunities with us.

We met Mark as a result of a consulting engagement in Tip of the Spear Ventures Sales / Business Development offering. Mark was quick to share “I believe that we can win!” with us during our initial meeting. But it became relatively clear quickly that Mark truly believed that he alone (“I”) would be doing the winning. Unable to engage his team in worthwhile activities, he was truly attempting to get victories where he could alone. However, an interesting point presented itself when victory was not at hand… Mark took on an air of indifference and several times sabotaged the initiatives so that if he couldn’t win, no one would!

Call Indifference Lackadaisical

While we’d love to compare and contrast the leadership styles of Jim and Mark in autopsy fashion, we don’t need to dig too deep to find the primary cause of initiative and goal death… Indifference! Indifference is defined as having a lack of interest, concern or sympathy. Indifference can also be seen as sharing unimportance for a given topic/event. Regardless of how you define indifference, ask yourself if this is what you want within your organization, your leadership team, or yourself? I’m betting that answer to all three is no (or should be!)

3 Tips to Overcome the Leadership Challenge of Indifference

Here then are 3 tips to help you overcome the leadership challenge indifference in your daily performance:

Tip #3 – Set the Course

I see so many leaders that behave in an indifference pattern because they simply are not setting the course for them to accomplish bigger/better goals. For example, if you want your performance year-over-year to be at 120%, then you’d better aim for 133% (Aim high and achieve it… Bonus! Reality might have you miss though, but hopefully still coming in above 120%)

Tip #2 – Execute

Setting goals and plans to execute in and of themselves are not enough… You have to execute! I see far to many strategy sessions dissolve into nothing getting done afterwards. It’s as if those that strategize cannot roll up their sleeves and actually do the work. No one ever said that was a great strategy and got results. Execute, execute, execute!

Tip #1 – Accountability

So you have the plan and the ability to execute, but will you hold stakeholders accountable for achieving results? If you can’t hold people accountable, and more importantly re-orient them to get back on track towards achieving goal, you have no way of achieving success (Please don’t argue with me that even blind-squirrels find nuts… Is that the business model you’re willing to follow?)


In this post we’ve explored the leadership challenge of indifference, as well as provided 3 tips to help you as a leader succeed. No one ever said leadership was a game that wouldn’t require focus, effort and energy. I see way too much political-correctness and leaders playing nice without wanting to go after their goals. Indifference is the kiss of death when it comes to leadership, so leave that out of your leader success equation!


Sam Palazzolo


About Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director

Sam Palazzolo is Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Mergers & Acquisition, Sales / Business Development & Turnaround Management.