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Leaders by example
By David Tovey
It’s clear to me, after more than 30 years of observing and developing leaders, that people don’t do what their managers say unless what managers say matches what managers actually do.
Leaders are on duty 100% of the time – and they are watched constantly – watched to see if they are the type of manager that can be trusted. Where there is no trust there is no engagement, no buy in, no commitment and no loyalty. At best there may be compliance to rules and policies – and compliance doesn’t aid innovation, customer focus or goal achievement.
If the example a manager’s sets is different from the expectations they have of their people then the only option is control and command – micro managing the actions and behaviors of people. Micro management suggests to employees that they are not trusted and being good followers of the example set by their ‘leaders’ they tend not to trust in return.
Everything a manager does or says is noticed. Every word, every action matters – principled, authentic leaders work hard to makes sure that actions and words are congruent. People do follow leaders but only those they feel they can trust. Indeed, a manager who isn’t trusted doesn’t make the grade as a leader, whatever their position or title – if there are no followers then by definition no one is leading.
If your credibility is low because your words and actions are not congruent then you will struggle to retain good people, you will struggle to find people committed enough to help you achieve your objectives. Fail the congruency test and you will struggle to find people committed to achieving your organisations objectives, you will struggle to find people with the goodwill to be flexible in times of change.
Principled, authentic leadership is powerful – it creates trust and encourages follow-ship. Trust lies at the very heart of leadership.
David Tovey is Development Director of Sterling Growth Hub, an international speaker, consultants, coach and author.