The last few weeks we have discussed all the ways that things can go wrong as a leader. It might even appear that leadership is a less than desirable position given all the energy and effort it takes to be successful. Over the last few years, I have worked with employee groups that felt just that way. They included very qualified employees that had been offered leadership positions and opted not to accept the promotion.
It is important to note that like in any vocation, we will never be perfect. Just like everyone else, we go to work and do the best we can with the skills, abilities, energy, and resources that we have. What is different is that until very recently it was common to be held to a standard that was not humanly possible from those above and below us. Both groups expected leaders to near super-human and in challenging times this was even more pronounced. Past research showed that employees equated characteristics with leaders that would be more congruent with individuals that were all knowing, limitless, and infallible. Then when leaders failed, they were quick to judge. How many times have we heard an employee or coworker say: “if I was the boss, I would have done it this way and things would have all worked out?”
The good news is that perception is changing. The source of the change may not have been the best (business failures, weakness of political institutions, corruption), but it has allowed employees to look at leaders with a slightly different point of view.
We have more research on leadership than ever before, more opportunities for continued learning through numerous free resources, and more understanding of cause and effect related to decision-making.
So as you make your day-to-day decisions as a leader, keep in mind:
1. I know what I am good at and what I could improve.
2. I am vested in our success.
3. I am supportive and try to meet the needs of others.
4. I can only do my best.
5. All relationships are important.
6. Communication is critical.
7. I will do my job and not the job of others.
8. I can empower others to be successful.
9. I can guide my organization successfully through change.
10. I am continuously learning.