Blog Post

12 Unwanted Traits In Compliance Officers

Richard P. Kusserow | January 2023

Being the Compliance Officer is a difficult job. It requires developing skills and adopting positive working habits and traits in dealing with other leaders. The following are examples of the opposite habits and traits that would seriously undermine being effective.  

  1. “Playing Gotcha.” Focusing on finding faults in others tears down collaborative relationships if the faults are used against them. It is essentially trying to exert power over others.
  2. “Show and Tell.” Busy executives have little patience with those who focus on displaying their activities and metrics to impress others with the level of their effort. It will most likely be viewed as a waste of their time, as interest lies less on process and more on process results.
  3. “Bringing Problems, not Solutions.” Leadership wants a compliance officer that can offer solutions rather than just point out problems.  
  4. “Turf Battles.” Other functions overlap compliance, including Legal Counsel, HR, and Internal Audit, and acrimonious interactions can create executive-level disharmony, distraction, and tension.  
  5. “Playing Boogeyman.” Focusing on the threat of enforcement activities and oversimplifying complicated issues to respond to potential threats beyond statistical likelihood should be avoided. Continuously ”crying wolf” wears thin.
  6. “Losing Focus.” Not remaining focused, losing sight of the compliance program purpose and being distracted by less important matters curtail advancing a culture of compliance.
  7. “Being Dogmatic.” Eschewing, accepting, or understanding the beliefs, ideas, and positions of others and proffering only one acceptable option can be viewed as a failure to relate to others who have different views.
  8. “Being Egocentric.” Lacking self-awareness and having an outlook, concern, and sense of always being right results in failure to understand limitations or how others perceive actions.
  9. Hasty Generalizing. Making conclusions or broad claims drawn from insufficient or unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence will greatly undermine confidence in the Compliance Officer.
  10. “Grandstanding.” Behaving in a manner to attract attention and impress others instead of thinking about more important matters will not be well-received.
  11. “Being Myopic.” A narrow perspective and absence of depth and breadth of vision leads to being unable to realize that actions might have negative consequences and could undermine credibility.
  12. “Failing to Give Credits to Others.” Confident leaders assume blame for all that fails in their areas of responsibility and give credit for all that succeeds. To do otherwise is a sign of mediocrity and does not lead to a trusting, loyal team.

About the Author

Richard P. Kusserow established Strategic Management Services, LLC, after retiring from being the DHHS Inspector General, and has assisted over 3,000 health care organizations and entities in developing, implementing and assessing compliance programs.

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