Leaders Create Direction (Part 2)

A number of years ago, I was conducting an executive coaching session with the CEO and President of a multi-million dollar business. The leadership style of each person was vastly different and was the root-cause of the friction between these two leaders. As I worked with these individuals, it became evident that the CEO had never really articulated the expectations he desired to the President. In the absence of direction, the President created his own leadership style. Each had a different style of providing instructions to employees. Each viewed their jobs from a different set of eyes and viewpoint. The stress in their relationship was spilling over into the entire team causing unneeded tension within the organization. Both had different philosophies on how to work and interact with their customers. Their individual leadership styles were clashing and something had to be done. That’s why I was brought in.

As I listened to both leaders, it became evident that a thorough understanding of individual roles and responsibilities had to be articulated. I asked the CEO to be crystal clear on his expectations and share those expectations to the President. Only then could he hold the President responsible for his actions. This required a one-on-one detailed discussions with the CEO. I worked with him to clarify his delivery and the meeting was scheduled. Initially, the air was cleared and the working relationship became more positive. However, in the long term, the expectations were not met and the President was eventually let go. Not the best of endings for this employee but the necessary ending for the company to continue growing their profitability, internal effectiveness, and efficiency.
Take-away Idea: It is up to a leader to set the tone within his or her department or organization. Leaders set the tolerance level for performances. Unless you articulate what you are willing to accept in performances, people will work at a level they think is acceptable. Too often these are two very different expectations and becomes the source of tension in the workplace.

I recently read this statement: “Words are suspect unless our actions match them.” I hope you recognize the powerful meaning of these words. As a leader, you must exemplify congruency between what you say and what you do. Leaders should reflect honesty, integrity, and sincerity as part of their character. A lack of any of these traits creates distrust and disconnects that are lethal to you and the organization.
Take-away Idea: As a leader, you are a role model to every employee working under your charge. Your actions are under constant scrutiny and any deviation gives employees cause to distrust you. What you do in the dark should be what you are willing to do in the light. It’s that consistency of sound character that gives rise to greatness. Don’t ever let your words or deeds become suspect.

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