Bad Leadership from Sons of Anarchy

I’ve driven a motorcycle since the early 1980s and, like many, am somewhat enamoured by biker lore. So, after years of hype regarding the Sons of Anarchy series, I finally took it out for a spin. My wife and I motored through three seasons in less than two months! (We decided to take a break before rider fatigue set in.) Although it is a very entertaining show, one thing that became very apparent (and bothersome to me) is that these guys are not very good business managers. They seem to repeat the same mistakes without learning from the repercussions. But, we can all learn something from observing their bad habits — here are three lessons learned from watching the Sons of Anarchy:

Bad Communication is Bad Business

It may be cool to be the silent, stoic type tortured by your secrets, but it makes for a lousy boss or corporate colleague. Management is a team mandated to lead an organization to realize its goals — that’s much easier to achieve if everyone is in the know and working in the same direction. There is a lot of truth to the axiom knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge empowers the organization and helps it to move forward. (Yes, of course there are exceptions, but as a rule, sharing information with leadership allows for better decisions and direction.)

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

Hopefully, in your organization a misdeed is not punishable by a beating or death. None the less, all decisions have consequences and misinformed ones can affect an organization’s brand or people’s careers. Leaders often need to make decisions without having all the facts, but a good business person tries to pull in as much information as possible and get good counsel so that reason, not rash reaction, dictates the best course of action.

Equip Your Team with the Resources They Need

I guess as the underdogs, the Sons of Anarchy are often portrayed as a scrappy bunch up against bigger odds. But they rarely prepare or equip their members to successfully complete their objective. Nike’s Just Do It slogan seems to be the mantra; which makes for dramatic viewing, but typically leads to failure. In the recent business climate, we’re commonly asked to achieve more with less, but providing adequate training and resources is a wise investment. It increases the probability of success, supports organization morale and improves loyalty.

Understand What You Can’t Control

Every episode seems to have a macho “I’ll take care of it” or “I’d never let that happen” statement. And, despite their bad attitude and good intentions, we all know that they are totally powerless in affecting the outcome. In business there are many external forces which we must realize we cannot influence. Wasting energy on things you cannot change doesn’t help you or your organization. Identifying what these factors are and how they influence your business are critical to working with/around them to meet your objectives.

I could go on, but I’ve spent so much time watching Sons of Anarchy lately that I have work to catch up on. So I’ll leave it to you; what other bad managerial habits have you observed from the Sons?