Often leaders are in a tough situation and faced with tough choices.
A key role of a leader is to make decisions. In other words exercise their choice based on evaluating all the facts available to them and factoring in the impact of that choice on the long-term strategy. Whilst many are able to have that line-of-sight often times there is a knee-jerk reaction.
This reaction comes about from the individual leader’s behaviour. A leader’s daily habit is formed through the behaviour expressed. Unknowingly many a leader displays leadership traits that set the cultural tone through behaviour. If the leader is in survival mode—fear & flight—then choice comes across in behaviour as one that ensures self-preservation. What that means is that there is indecisiveness and inordinate delays on critical decisions. On the other hand if the leader has strong engagement, both at the C level and operational levels, then choice exercised would be expressed as a best-case scenario based one.
As leaders how can we ensure our behaviour matches what we say?
As the saying goes—lead by example. There’s no better way than to set an example, by doing what you want others to do. What this means is that one has to get one’s hands dirty but getting into execution and influencing the desired output. This sends a very strong message to all in terms of culture and expected behaviour.
This is more so important in the Asian context where employees behave as they see their bosses do.
As leaders how can we get the engagement?
Getting employee engagement is hard. Not impossible but hard. You can’t make all the people happy all the time. You can make some people happy some of the time. So it is with getting employees to be engaged.
As a leader it’s critical to have an open door relationship with your operational leadership team and actually practice it. If the operational leadership team has to always make an appointment to discuss an issue or an idea, then it’s not open door. On the contrary, the message communicated is that the leader of the organization is not interested.
The impact of such behaviour affects choices greatly.
Lack of regular interaction and access to the C suite leadership coupled with lack of ownership within the C suite, of critical organizational initiatives, leads to:
- Lack of morale
- Lowering of trust (in the leadership)
- Questioning the time, energy & effort (spent) on critical initiatives
Ending in the organization losing the operational leaders and losing its way.
Is your organization showing any of these?
If yes, it’s time to have a very open, no-holds barred, heart-to-heart chat with the concerned leaders and to put the facts on the table for the leadership to imbibe, evaluate and choose wisely for the long-term benefit of the organization.