|Walk the Talk. Be the leader you want to see in others.|
Leadership can be demonstrated by anyone – we know this. This idea is referred to as distributed leadership. But when it is needed the most, it is often the hardest to find.
If ever we need leadership it is from our managers. They set the tone of the culture – the expectations of behaviour in their teams.
I recently heard of a manager who watched on as one of her staff verbally attacked another. It is the manager who staff bump into every day, and through the manager’s actions, or in this case, their inaction, they send powerful messages about what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour.
So why did this manager not step into the fray and do something about this altercation? This would have been a perfect opportunity to model the behaviour she expected from her staff. There are two reasons that come to mind:
1. She was not clear herself on what is acceptable behaviour. If the manager is not clear, then the informal leaders will step up and fill the void – as may well have been the case in this incidence. So, managers, get clear and make clear what you expect and stand by this. Demonstrate conviction and congruence about the behaviour you expect.
2. She may have been clear that the behaviour was not acceptable but was afraid to say anything. I suspect fear of losing face, friends, approval approval, or not knowing how to manage a difficult conversation rules manager’s behaviour more than they admit. The reality is that to transform culture, you need to be ‘counter-cultural’ and that takes courage.
True leadership takes courage, conviction and congruence: the key ingredients to self-empowerment.