“Leadership is not a position or at title, it is action and example.” ~ Unknown
If you think there are a lot of definitions of leadership then you might be very concerned by the number of models there are to explain what leaders actually do! In fact, there is solid leadership research and literature that points the way to a more conscious approach that leads the path to accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations. Here is one of the simplest definitions offered by management guru Peter Drucker:
· Leadership: from an ancient Greek word meaning path-maker
· Management: from an ancient Greek word meaning path-follower
What Does Poor Leadership Look Like?
You wake up, take one look in the mirror, and realize that you simply can’t face going into the office. You feel demoralized, dejected and defeated. Your expectations have gone unmet and your boss just doesn’t seem to get it. Like a polar ice cap, their unconscious behavior has slowly eroded your morale over time. You complain to your friends and spouse that all you get at work is crap.
Here is some of what they do:
- They contact employees on their time off
- They micromanage instead of fostering trust and empowering you
- They are unwilling to listen to new ideas (or worse yet, take the new ideas but don’t give you credit)
- They provide vague, useless feedback
- They don’t foster a learning and growth environment
- They criticize publicly
- They iterate and reiterate your work until all feeling of satisfaction and engagement is squeezed out of it like a wet sponge
Do you recognize any of this? The truth is it doesn’t have to be this way.
What Does Good Leadership Look Like?
When working at their best leaders challenge, inspire, enable, model and encourage positive behavior, creativity and productivity. They do this through committing themselves to particular sets of behaviors linked to these values.
These leadership traits are an observable and learnable set of practices, available to anyone prepared to spend time developing them. Now, let’s look at some of what great leaders actually do:
- They thrive and learn from adversity and challenge
- They take risks and regard failure as a chance to learn
- They seek challenging opportunities to help you grow, innovate and improve 24/7
- They envision an uplifting and ennobling future
- They enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams
- They achieve results through others and build trust in doing so
- They are impeccable role models (and readily admit failure)
- They recognize individual contributions to the success of every project
- They celebrate team accomplishments
These traits and others, all go hand in hand to create a working environment that empowers employees to be their best. When employees feel that growth in the company is impossible, their motivation goes out the window and they stop performing at their best. And can you really blame them? What happens next is crucial. They either give up and move on, or face the dysfunction head on. Most choose the former. Look around. Is there a constant exodus in your company?
Give Them C.R.A.P.
The key to employee retention, engagement and satisfaction is consistent quality supervision. People want caring, respect, appreciation and praise (C.R.A.P.) from their organization. But unfortunately, leaders are often not trained and don’t know how to show they care and that they respect their people or how to give appreciation and properly praise people. Training leaders on these skills is crucial. Most want to give their people C.R.A.P but have not been taught how to. If they are equipped to give their people C.R.A.P., they will, and if they are not, well, they just end up giving them crap!
A Final Word…
By giving your people C.R.A.P. you will inspire loyalty and your impact on the organization will go beyond the bottom line. Most leaders, I believe, have the desire to succeed but have never been trained on basic leadership skills. They are unconscious. Much of leadership is about becoming conscious, learning and then applying skills that support and serve your workforce. If an organization does not have consistent, ongoing leadership training, it will struggle with employee retention, because supervisors and mid-level leaders are the drivers of employee retention. Without trained leaders, you will never optimize your employee retention, and ultimately, your bottom line will flounder. There is a better way. Give them C.R.A.P.
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