Leadership Matters! (03/15/2016)
Last week's episode of Scandal was "A Fish Rots From the Head". Olivia Pope scolds President Grant (her ex-lover, Fitz), about his bad personal behavior and how it impacts the behavior of those around him (the Secret Service, it seems had a party and killed a prostitute). This is true. Leadership matters. How a leader behaves impacts team behavior and performance. There are lots of studies that address good and bad leadership and the traits that leaders must possess to achieve success and drive the performance of their team - all true and good studies worth reading. However, if you spend some time observing leaders and their teams, you may learn just as much about what good leadership and often more importantly, bad leadership looks like. Is the leader too casual? Look at how her team emulates her. Is the leader able to motivate and influence others? Look at how his direct report team run their meetings and gain consensus. How about emotional intelligence? If a leader understands his or her self impact and impact on others, it's likely that their teams will do the same. Does your boss focus more on gossip or personalities than the work? Many will follow suit. This is not a political blog but: Are you watching our politicians? See how their constituents emulate bad behavior as well as good?
Leaders set the vision for the organization. They see beyond today and get us where we need to be and this is an awesome responsibility. Real leaders understand their impact on others and act accordingly. They are constantly looking above, beyond and below to determine their impact on others. Real leaders appreciate diversity of thought and healthy conflict - not fighting to assert power. Real leaders understand that their teams are watching them so that they may emulate their qualities and develop themselves for a leadership role.
The key takeaways are these:
- Bone up on your emotional intelligence. You need to know yourself and how you impact others.
- Spend time observing leaders among and around you. Make a list of the qualities you like and those you don't.
- Observe the direct reports of those you deem "effective leaders". Observe the direct reports of those that are less effective. Note your observations, and,
- absorb or adapt those qualities that work.
When your team acts in way that you or others find unacceptable or maybe even questionable don't be so surprised and become defensive. Take appropriate action and think about your part in the behavior pattern. You may not have directly conveyed a desire to create traffic problems for those who perhaps have not been kind to you but something in your behavior prompted your team to think that it's OK to do that. I'm sure you never thought your team would place a unsecured server in your home but they did it anyway. Hmmm... Bet when you tell your supporters you feel like punching protesters in the face and they do it.....Hmmm again. Never miss an opportunity to reflect and learn your part in outcomes whether good or bad.
I use business coaching and mentoring to help you hone your leadership behaviors so that you can motivate and influence others and develop plans around your vision for a productive and exciting future. Contact Beth for more information.
For an Irish girl like myself, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Happy St. Patrick's day to all! Have a wonderful time celebrating and wearing the green. Talk next month!