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Follow the Leader

As a leader, you are responsible for setting clear and concise expectations for your team, and holding them accountable when these expectations are not met. This is leadership 101, right? What happens when the leader is not setting a good example? For instance, the employees, including the leader, have an arrival time of 8:00 am, seems reasonable, right? The leader shows up every day without fail somewhere between 10:00am and 10:30am. They may call to let their team know they will be in late, or they may not. Eventually their team will start to adopt this same behavior. This causes great upset in the organization, because it impacts others. Customer’s both internal and external depend on the team to ensure that their needs are being met, when the team is not available, we lose customer’s and create animosity within the organization. The dissention this causes eventually makes it back to the leader of the team.

These leaders eventually end up getting extremely frustrated, and land in my office wanting to know why their team thinks this is acceptable behavior, and requesting that HR take some sort of action. My first question is always, “Are you setting a good example?” Many times, this question invokes coughs, sputters, red faces and something along the lines of, “Those rules do not apply to me”. This statement never surprises me, but always fascinates me. I could respond in a variety of ways but what I have found to be most effective is this, “They look up to you and expect you to set the standard, you have set your standard, they are just following your lead.” Most individuals mimic the behavior’s that are set out before them, to expect a different outcome is wishful thinking. Before you get upset with an employee who is not doing what you think they should do, consider your actions and how you are leading. Are you communicating effectively with your staff, obeying the dress code, being respectful of individuals and their time? This is a very small sampling of how your behaviors can affect your team, they are too many to list but this should start to paint a pretty good picture.

As cliché as it may sound, great leader’s lead by example, poor leader’s say one thing and do another resulting in good staff voting with their feet and leaving the organization. Remember employees don’t leave organizations, they leave because of poor leadership.

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