Over my 30 years of working with senior leaders, I have seen the good the bad and the very ugly. It seems that any “C’ level person who has the privilege to put a “E” as their second letter in their title through a promotion automatically is hit with a cosmic ray from deep space that creates behavior that many times creates a lack of optimization in their workforce.
Specifically, most CEO’s, senior leaders lose their perspective on the reality of their business and their people both direct and indirect. I have concluded this behavioral change is not out of malice or intent but a brain cell alteration that tends to create ego maniacal characteristics. I am joking of course but if you’re honest with yourself you have to acknowledge my point.
The best Leaders formulate the vision for their company, integrate all employees. Subs and vendors into the execution of that vision, and then become cheer leaders throughout their organization indentifying and acknowledging behaviors that demonstrate momentum towards the desired outcome. Additionally, on a qualitative level, nothing helps create trust more with the entire workforce than a CEO being real with their people. Leaders need to understand the enormous power you have with the lives of your employees. With that power comes intimidation and a natural filtration of information. Unless employees really see the real you, and that you consistently demonstrate your desire to get honest feedback, you will always be removed from the pulse of your business.
Many leaders are convinced they are in touch with their employees and that their demeanor is nothing short of Dr Phil. Sorry, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here is a short list of how to be the very best ………
- Get everyone involved in the development of strategies and initiatives required to make your company the best it can be. Accountabilities for results will be enthusiastically owned by everyone participating. The days of a few smart leaders in a room developing the plan and then dictating what needs to be accomplished is long over.
- Take the mask off. I know it’s scary but most leaders believe in order to obtain respect, trust and compliance they need to be aloof, tough, demanding and impersonal. Try being open, honest, engaging, caring and personal. Your employees want to follow you up the mountain. Give them a reason to.
- Look for the wins not the mistakes. Sure you need to stay on top of problems but most leaders only really engage employees when there is a mistake made or a business performance problem. Find behavior that demonstrates your values and your success factors and go out of your way to appreciate it. It will not only further increase the productivity of that employee but everyone around that employee will be clamoring to understand what they need to do to obtain that positive attention.
- Listen, listen, listen……As a leader, one of the biggest challenges we have is to ask questions, make positive visionary statements and stay away from pontificating and making everything about you. It’s not about you, it’s about creating a cultural that is upbeat, confident, open, communicative, and results driven. That can’t occur unless your people believe they matter.
- Celebrate the wins….Give time to success and recognize all that assisted in achieving that outcome. In this economy we spent 95% of our time in crises, take the wins and make it a memory. Employees need a time to bath in their good work before setting upon the next hurdle.
So, it’s not rocket science but certainly from this writer’s perspective something rarely seen in today’s leadership model. Give it a try, I promise you will see immediate results.