I have observed people who could have been great leaders failing to do small things that could have restored them into the “Leadership Greatness Wall Of Fame”. These are people who let their character slip because of their ego or because their nefarious intentions got the best of them.
How many times have we heard on the news or read comments directed at politicians, captains of industry or leaders in general by people saying:
- “What is new? We have heard that before”.
- “Oh, that one, it is not surprising that they are the ones who did or said what was claimed”.
- I do not know who to trust any more.
- He or she left a mess, this place is better without him or her.
I know of a leader who would go to the business and make promises about what his department would deliver without checking with those who do the work. This approach would push the team against the wall to deliver against all odds. In no time the team felt that this was not sustainable, and the leader was left with egg on his face not being able to fulfil what he promised. This left his credibility tarnished and no one wants to hear about his name since he left the company.
You do not want to find yourself in a situation where your credibility is brought into question or where your values are second-guessed. For leaders, the bar is raised high to lead people to the promised land. It is for this reason that the expectations for leaders cannot be lowered for expedient gains, be they financial or personal.
Dave Ulrich said, “Credible leaders have the personal habits, values, traits and competencies to engender trust and commitment from those who take their direction”
Credibility does not come easy because it has to be earned just like trust. Once lost, it might be difficult or impossible to regain.
A leader who fails to reflect will lose the opportunity to recalibrate and course-correct where they may have gone wrong. In the words of Zen, “We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see”.
Each person worth to be called a true and authentic leader should take a moment and reflect:
- Do those I work with feel an emotional connection with me?
- Do I listen and take counsel from others?
- Do I admit my mistakes?
- Why should anyone take my feedback or guidance seriously?
- Am I sincere in my intentions?
- Are people looking forward to my presence?
Without reflection and openness to feedback, the chances are that a leader will go on to harm themselves and those they are meant to lead. You have a powerful tool in pausing and reflecting if your actions are benefiting you and others.
If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on email@example.com.
Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you found value in this article, please be so kind as to share with those close to you.