Most boardrooms and various levels of leadership are filled with men and women who present the illustrious business persona. This takes the form of cut throat approach that puts people down instead of lifting them up.
These type of leaders generate negative energy filled with fear and plain disrespect.
I was recently puzzled by a comment on one article where the person stated that CEO’s and leaders do not have time to sooth and listen to people the whole day. I submit that such comments miss the point and shows poor understanding of the role of the leader. Leaders have the responsibility to engage their workforce with respect (not the whole day of course) while demanding results.
CEOs, general managers, heads, whatever the title, are human beings before they are leaders.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking your staff:
– how their weekend was.
– how their kids are doing at school.
– how are they recuperating from their last bout of flu.
– what challenges are interfering with their jobs so that you can know how to extend support.
An involved leader will know their team members and how far to take the conversation. There is no one size fits all approach here.
How many times have you seen your colleagues been mistreated in front of others by their leaders? How many times have you seen people put down under the pretence of demanding results?
We should not confuse rudeness with firmness. Some people are not tough and firm in holding their teams accountable, they are rude. I once heard a leader saying to someone even an unborn child can do this better than you.
Please don’t ask what was the context. It’s plain rude behaviour aimed at belittling and instilling fear.
The same people who are put down would say, “ag shame, he or she is not bad on a personal level, you need to know him or her better”. I am confused when people speak like that, it seems to suggest that these leaders have multiple personalities. Your leadership style is an expression of who you are. You can’t be different “as a leader and as a person”. The principles that inform how you view human beings should remain whether you are at home or at work.
The challenge is that most leaders are hiding behind the facade of their positions. Unfortunately, they still carry the hurt boy or girl into adulthood for which members of their teams have to suffer.
It is important for organizations to pick up such leadership behaviours and stop endorsing them through promotions and huge bonuses. Rather invest in programs that enhance values-based leadership. Leaders should be equipped to shift from a boss to coach mentality.
Its starts with the individual leader’s willingness to make that shift. Here are a few considerations to help you become an authentic leader:
1. Face your demons: You will make a shift if you can face the warring twins within. It might be fears, anger, hate and all these negative forces that deny your true self to show. If not, you will continue to hurt others externally and hurt yourself internally. It is an open secret that those who pretend to be tough on the outside are the weakest inside. They are crumbling inside, they are fearful. You should realise that your past life story needs to give way to the new chapter of your life. Carrying that old past with you is a heavy weight that pulls you down.
2. Define / review your values: Your values are the true north star that will define what you value and how you interact with others. If you value growth for you and for your kids, why should you go around throwing your weight and deny others at work the opportunities that you think you deserve but not them? Your value system should become the bedrock on which you base your decisions.
3. Form meaningful relationships: It should follow logically that your values should inform the relationships you need to remain authentic. These are people who will not sing your negative tune or rally with you on a complaints crusade. They are people who are authentic themselves. They are open and willing to give you feedback when you steer away from your chosen north star.
There are many people occupying positions of influence out there but there are few authentic leaders. Make it your task to become a true leader and impact people positively and your organisation will grow exponentially.
Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit http://www.dreamsmadepossible.co.za/contact.html. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.