Reflections on Leadership

flamingo reflectionSo far 2017 has been  what might be called an interesting year and we haven’t even hit Easter yet!

One of the many things that’s  been  fascinating me is how in SA,  and also in the UK and USA, supporters of political leaders so obviously emulate the behaviour of that Leadership, and then how relatively quickly that behaviour can spread and be taken up by others.

What’s worth considering is that the workplace is no different.

Staff consciously, and unconsciously,  imitate the behaviour of leaders within an organisation,  copying the positive  things leaders do, but also replicating  the negative things as well.  In many organisations managers  describe people as having “bad attitudes,” but often the culture created by leaders is the root cause of the problem. As Robert Whipple of the Trust Ambassador notes, if these same problem people are put in a culture of trust, respect, and challenge, many of them quickly rise up to become happy and productive workers.

An article in Harvard Business Review  reiterates that leaders can shape a company culture through their behaviour and so it’s important to make sure that the right  kind of behavioural example is modeled.

What might you consider paying attention to:

Watch what you say – language is powerful and it’s worth taking time to think about your values and choose words that reflect them. The stories organisations tell about themselves become the reality for those in that organisation. Are the right stories being told?

Watch what you reward – do you ask for one set of desired behaviours and then reward completely different behaviours. Rewards don’t have to be monetary, they can be recognition, access, inclusion. Ask yourself who is being  invited  into the inner circle and why?  Is teamwork encouraged but  individual achievement rewarded? Asking for robust input but dismissing opposing ideas?

Watch what you tolerate – ignoring a  problem sends a message to everyone. If you leave negative behaviour unaddressed you send a message to the whole organisation and what gets ignored becomes acceptable. Hoping problems will just go away if you turn a blind eye is a technique that, unfortunately, doesn’t work, anywhere, anytime.

If  you are trying to shape the culture of your organization, make sure the reflection in the mirror is the one you want to see reflected in the organisation.

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