Monday, June 15, 2009

Following the Leader

I had an interesting discussion with a client last week. She had just started a new job in a new company and while she was excited by the opportunity, she was surprised by some of the messages coming from the CEO. She knew that the CEO was a hard charger when she took the job. In fact, she took the job because he was a hard charger. But hearing his message did not motivate her. In fact, it had just the opposite affect.

In the first few days on her new job, this client has been engaged in several meetings with the CEO. And while she expected him to be demanding of her and his executive team in general, she found his attitude to be highly negative, his message gloomy, and his overall demeanor downright depressing. In meeting with her counterparts she found that the other executives had adopted this very same view of the world, leading her to be further depressed. So instead of being energized in the first few weeks of her new job, she found that the leadership of her new company to be sapping the energy right out of her.

When times are tough and businesses are struggling with revenue streams, focusing their efforts on expense control, and generally hunkering down waiting for the bad times to blow over, it’s easy to forget that where leaders lead, followers follow. When the leader leads on a positive, but realistic path people follow optimistically. When the message from the leader is doom and gloom, that message is absorbed by the rest of the organization.

Have you ever worked for a leader whose entire attitude and demeanor was negative? Did you find that leadership inspiring, or did it make going to work even more of a chore?

We don’t want our leaders to be “Pollyanna’s” but if leaders are to inspire us to achieve their vision, then their leadership should be equally inspirational.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories on this subject.

Until next time....

ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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