Monday, June 29, 2009

Leaders With Attitudes

I got some very interesting reactions to my list of “10 Things Every Leader Should Know.” It was a simple little list, yet, for many of you, it seems that the list really resonated. A few people posted comments on the blog site, a few posted comments to me on Facebook, a few emailed me, and I even got a couple of phone calls.

Why did this simple list create such a reaction?

I think there are a couple of reasons for that. First, in spite of its simplicity, the list acknowledged that the leader has to do more than one thing to be effective. It seems that many of you believe that your leaders, at whatever level of the organization, believe they must only do one thing well to be a successful leader.

Obviously that is just not true.

Others focused on specific items on the list as being something really lacking in their leader. One person put it this way.

“I agree, Dave. Leadership is simple. So why do so many leaders get it wrong?”

I will write about some of the responses I got in future blogs, but this week I wanted to focus on several comments I received about the way attitude plays into leadership.

Attitude is an issue with leaders. Several people commented that I hinted at the importance of the leader's attitude, but they wished I had been more direct. “Don’t leaders realize that the employees adapt the attitude of the leader? When the leader has a bad attitude, so do the employees.”

This is true. When the leader has an attitude of hope and presents hope to the employees, they follow with hope in their heart.

When the leader's attitude about customers is concerned and caring and they demonstrate that through policies and procedures, the employees work hard to take care of the customers.

But when the leader's attitude is negative, the employees also adopt that same attitude. If the leader is depressed about the prospects for the future, the employees are as well. If the leader is worried about the revenue stream, the employees sense this and become worried as well. And when the leader is just in a crappy mood for an extended period, that mood becomes the mood around the entire office.

This is not a suggestion for leaders to apply a fake smile and pretend to be happy when they are not. After all, employees can always sense a fake. But rather, this is an acknowledgement that what you do, how you act , and even how you feel have a much bigger impact on those around you when you are a leader.

All leaders have an attitude. If you are not projecting the right attitude, you are most certainly projecting the wrong one.

Until next time......

ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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