One family I know could not agree on how to deal with the inheritance from their parents. It appears that the parents did not have a will and the siblings fought for the house the parents left behind.
Instead of coming together to agree on the best way possible to deal with the house, each wanted the house to belong solely to them. Words were thrown around such as I would rather have the house destroyed instead of having it belong to other siblings.
Little did these people realise that words are powerful.
No one in the family took a responsibility to care for the house because their energies were focused on selfish ends. Each wanted to have the house to themselves.
Within no time it was a derelict building. It never remained derelict for a long time until someone noticed the empty house. Some started by removing the window, then before we knew it the bricks that made what was one a family home. From the single brick, the entire walls were brought down to the ground. Before you knew it the roof and the entire structure was gone.
At the end of the day, pride won over humility.
What do a house and bricks have to do with leadership?
When leaders are focused on their political squabbles, elevating themselves and not taking care of the people that they are entrusted with, the organisation will ultimately suffer.
Leaders build the trust and commitment of their teams just like a huge house is started with the right foundation and single brick. Equally so, leaders have the potential to break the trust of their people with a poor foundation of distrust.
As a leader, you have the responsibility to build the “emotional bank account” of the team. In the words of Stephen R Covey, “An emotional bank account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship. It’s a feeling of safeness you have with another human being”.
As a leader, stand back and reflect on the number of withdrawals you make from the emotional bank account of the individuals under your care.
These are the signs that you are destroying the team:
- Talking disrespectfully to others.
- Bullying, harassing, and/or victimising the team.
- Not following up on your commitments.
- Taking credit for their work.
- Unclear expectations.
- Withholding feedback and information.
- Being too big to apologise when you hurt others.
- Talking behind others backs.
- Failing to protect your team (putting them under the bus).
- Plain lying (or misrepresenting the truth – to be polite).
Until you flip these around, your team will be destroyed, and you will be left with only yourself to listen to. Andy Stanley was right when he said that “leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say”.
Build the house that you will be proud to leave for the ones coming behind you.
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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.