When I facilitate leadership training the participants frequently describe a leadership style that is pervasive in many workplaces. It usually consists of a leader who is a good person, works really hard and means well but is constantly overwhelmed and reacting to events. This creates a leadership dynamic where the leader is in survival mode and really doesn’t have the time or perspective to lead in any other way. Working frantically isn’t the same as actually being productive. Very often, these decent and caring individuals end up being the dreaded bad boss or ineffective leader. It’s not because they’re horrible people, they just don’t have any other way of doing things.
When it comes to leadership, I think in terms of practicing positive behaviors and how they generate certain results. When we do positive things it tends to create more positive results. If we choose to focus on the negative we get different outcomes. To begin evaluating whether you’re an effective leader see if you recognize the following behaviors:
1. Always checking up on employees.
2. Constantly asking employees for updates.
3. Feeling rushed or pressured.
4. Feeling out of control if things aren’t done a certain way.
5. Running from one fire to another.
6. Constantly reacting to events instead of planning beforehand.
7. Living with constant stress or tension.
8. Telling employees what to do instead of listening.
9. Not really happy at work.
10. Needing to dominate others.
Do you do any of these things? It’s not horrible if you do, it will just create a certain kind of workplace dynamic than if you were to refocus and practice the following alternatives:
1. Lets employees do their work independently.
2. Trusts employees to keep him up to date.
3. Feels calm and balanced even under pressure.
4. Lets people do things in ways that make sense to them.
5. Doesn’t create or add to the fire.
6. Plans proactively to minimize emergencies.
7. Relaxes at work.
8. Listens to employees and values outside input.
9. Happy at work.
10. Doesn’t need to dominate others.
When you look at these two lists which one sounds more like you? Effective leaders tend to be more like the second list and enjoy happier work lives and fewer heart attacks. There’s no secret to behaving this way in the workplace. All it takes is letting go of the old way of doing things and replacing it with more productive behaviors. How will you start being a more effective leader?