The biggest leadership fault I see everywhere I go is a leader’s ability to see:
All of the above are key emotional intelligence attributes of great leaders that get shit done with an engaged and high performing team. Let’s break it down…
We all sit on two teams. The one we lead and the one we are a member of. Which one is the most important? Poor leaders will tell me right away that the most important team is the one they lead. Wrong! Think of parents. They are on a team (husband and wife). They lead a team (the children). It is critical that the function and communication of the ‘Husband and Wife’ team are optimal, otherwise, the other team (the children) will see dysfunction and start to worry about their own safety, security, and well-being. They will start to choose sides. Chaos ensues.
In the business setting, if you are not prioritizing the team you are on, chaos will ensue in the culture.
When things go right, great leaders will look out the window – in other words, they will put their team front and center. When things go wrong, great leaders look in the mirror – in other words, take 100% responsibility.
If execution is not happening, it is the leader’s fault. Period. If sales are off plan, it is the leader’s fault. Period. If customers are pissed, it is the leader’s fault. Period. Are you starting to get the picture?
Leader’s always take 100% responsibility for anything that is not working. When this happens, the team will see that their leader ‘has their back’ and they will work extra hard to deliver so that their leader does not have to take the fall.
This is BIG! Remember sympathy vs. empathy. They are not the same things. Often leaders will fall victim to putting themselves in the place of their team and sympathize with their situation. Poor market conditions. Budget cuts. Dysfunctional processes. Poor results. The list goes on and on. Refer back to numbers one and two above…
The team you are on sets the targets. The buck stops there. When things go wrong, the leader is accountable. Period. When it comes to your team, it is OK to empathize with their situation however, the moment you slide into sympathy, you are advocating your responsibility as a leader.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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