This post is not talking about our current political affairs, this post and discussion is about good vs. evil in leadership intention or rather ” bad leader” vs. “a good leader” I’m talking about leadership in our workplace and how we wield our leadership influence. We are all leaders within – and the choices we make each day with our intentions have to start with us. We have the potential to choose to be “good” or “evil” within each of us. Our actions have the ability to drive sustainable results in a positive or negative way; we make the choice how we wish to move forward in our lives.
Leadership is influence at its simplest form. As a leader, we influence others with our actions and words. When others choose to follow us, they choose to take on our character traits and follow our lead. To be a leader is not just manage others, rather, it’s to take the responsibility to influence others to be their best – to carry forward your vision, your ideals and incorporate those ideals within their own life. It is a heavy responsibility to carry. It is not one to be taken lightly.
We must ask ourselves as we traverse our workplace, how does an employee experience our leadership? How are we being interrupted by our employees? The most impactful way we can see our leadership in action is through the quality of their work and productivity, culture of the workplace. As leaders we can see our impact and measure the results we have created through our choices in this manner.
Leadership of others usually comes in two forms: tangible and intangible. Tangible support consists of training, tools, material, discipline, direction, procedures, rules, technical advice, documentation, information, planning, etc. Intangible support consists of feelings like confidence, morale, trust, respect, purpose, autonomy, ownership, engagement and empowerment.
Leadership happens every minute of every day because the vast majority of people are following the leader – some more, some less. The only choice available to a leader is to set the standard others will follow—be that good, bad, mediocre or somewhere in between.
What makes for good Leadership?
- Listening to your employees – addressing their complaints, suggestions, concerns, and personal issues at work.
- Coaching people when necessary to raise them to a higher standard.
- Allowing everyone to put in their two cents.
- Trusting them to do the work.
A good leader is one that is not giving orders or setting visions, goals and objectives, but soliciting feedback from their employees so that everyone is fully involved in how the company will be successful. A good leader provides direction when needed to ensure that everyone is on the same page. A good leader communicates the vision that was set by all. If it is a vision of little interest, then another one must be found.
We all want to be heard and respected. Everyone has something to contribute. Listening and responding respectfully makes it worthwhile for employees to apply 100% of their brainpower on their work which unleashes their full potential of creativity, innovation and productivity thus making them highly motivated, committed and productive. All of this gives companies a very high morale, enables employees to take great pride in their work. Good leadership multiplies whatever creativity, innovation and productivity.
Let’s take a look at what makes a bad leader. What characterizes bad leadership?
- Doling out orders, policies, rules, goals, targets, reports, visions and changes to force employees to work the way management believes it should be done.
- Failing to listen or only unconsciously listening to complaints and suggestions.
- Trying to motivate employees through faux methods
- Exhibiting the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality
- Providing insufficient support
- Withholding information
- Treating them as if they are lucky to have a job
- Being afraid to discipline and never disciplining anyone
- Staying in your office or in meetings at your level or above. The leader who leads behind the closed door.
Interesting the list for “bad” leadership is longer than what makes a good leader. Good leadership is not complicated, in reality. It requires us to be of character in our actions and deeds. Unfortunately, bad leadership tends to be more the norm than good these days. We can point out the negative faster than we can the good – which need to change. A bad leader is characterized by attempting to control employees through orders, policies, rules, goals, targets, reports, visions, bureaucracy, and changes all designed to almost force employees to work.
Bad leadership shuts off our natural creativity, innovation, and productivity and slowly but surely demoralizes us. The “I know better than you” and the “be quiet and listen to me” mentality often projected will make many of us tuned out the message. Most bad leadership is the result of a top-down, command and control style of management, where the employee is rarely if ever listened to. This style is prevalent in the workplace and ignores every employee’s basic need to be heard and respected. It also results in a knowledge barrier and top management becoming ignorant of what is really going on in the workplace and the marketplace, which in turn makes their directives misguided at best and irrelevant at worst.