They’re always watching you.
50 – 70% of an organization’s climate is determined by the actions of their leaders. Yep, that means you.
Much of the time you spend at work is spent in clear view of those who report to you. In clear view of those who either admire you (and look for evidence of their admiration) or those at the other end of the spectrum who can’t stand your guts. (They spend their days looking for evidence of your evil-ness.) Most people are in between those extremes, but rest assured –
People are watching you.
I was first taught this valuable lesson almost 30 years ago by my then young teenage daughter. We lived in a neighborhood with lots of school holidays. Often I brought her to work with me because I didn’t want her home alone, and heck, my mom brought me to her work from the time I was 11.
I taught her how to file and found lots of cool projects for her – like checking for “dupes” in our subscription list.
After a few days of working in my office over a holiday week, we’re eating dinner at home one night. Apparently I began whining about my staff for some reason. (I think I felt left out of something, although I can’t remember what.)
My daughter, the recipient of this self-indulgent rampage looks up wisely at me and said, “You don’t get it Mom, you just don’t get it.”
The “It” I didn’t get was that the folks on my staff looked to ME for guidance. I was spending more of my time trying to fit in and be their friend than step into the responsibilities of my own leadership role as their mentor, teacher or guide.
Out of the mouth of babes.
My daughter’s proclamation propelled me into “learning mode” as I eagerly began discovering how “real” leaders interacted. I had a lot to learn, and luckily I was open and willing to keep learning.
Every leader has impact… what kind of impact you have is up to you.
What almost no one ever taught us was that EMOTIONS ARE CONTAGIOUS. And because of that we are always broadcasting our emotions.
We broadcast FEAR particularly well because the external environment exposes us to so much of it.
Here’s the problem – the currency of “High Performance” at work is ENERGY. It’s not about having enough time to do something significant, it’s about having enough ENERGY and focus.
When your way of leading is nourishing and supportive, you create “energy gains” for your employees. You’re helping them become more creative, more productive and more pleasant to be around. With the energy they gain as a result of interacting in a positive workplace environment, they go home at night with energy left for their family, friends and hobbies.
It’s a real win-win for the community and the business.
Conversely, if your style of leading focuses on evoking fear or expressing criticism – that leads to “energy drains” for your employees.
In which case you can kiss your dreams of high performance goodbye.
Those folks go home at night exhausted and have little energy left for the others in their lives. Toxic cultures or behaviors from bosses spillover into marital distress and poor performance in school for kids.
Nobody wins when a leader focuses on the negative.
When you focus on your problems you drag everyone down. When you become solution focused – and the energy flows towards a creative new solution – you broaden everyone’s outlook.
Check out the “Positive Energizer” assessment and get an idea of whether or not you are creating energy GAINS or DRAINS.