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Leadership Thought #392 – Rise Above It

It’s easy to get sucked into petty disputes and inter-office politics, but as the leader you need to rise above it.  You must always remember that your employees take their cultural cues from you.  You are a role model!  If you get enmeshed in office gossip then they will.  If you use a divide and conquer management approach than they will do the same.  If you treat people poorly and/or without proper etiquette then bad behavior towards others will become acceptable.  If you have a short fuse, then anger will become an acceptable management strategy.

I’ve been in enough companies now that if you give me thirty minutes with the leader and I attend a management meeting I will have a pretty good feel for the culture of the organization.  It isn’t hard to connect the dots.  Most leaders are in a Shakespearean play or Greek tragedy of their own making.  You can either elevate the quality of dialogue and interaction in your organization or lower it.   Trust exists or it doesn’t.  People will either look up to you or talk about you negatively behind your back.  As with most things, you get out of something what you put into it.

Unhappy, divisive and mean spirited people will always exist in life.  Try not to hire them, but don’t expect a batting average of 1000%.    The good news is that strong cultures tend to surface and spit these people out relatively quickly.  As indicated, the first place you need to look when one of these people emerge in your organization is at yourself.  How did you create the conditions that made this possible?  Your job as the leader is to continually raise the bar in terms of performance and behavior expectations.

There will always be events outside the sphere of your control that affect your organization.  In these cases all you can do is react in the best way possible.   If you believe you can meet any challenge and seize every major opportunity, then your people will as well.   The spotlight can be shined on the relative strength or weakness of your culture at any given time.  In most cases, internal strife and organizational chaos is self-created.  We are what we tolerate and continually do.   Don’t get mired or distracted by interpersonal dysfunction or counter-productive behavior.  Rise above the fray and set a good example.  Expect great things of yourself and others regardless of what happens.  Be a leader people want to follow.



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