“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standard they set for themselves.” Ray Croc
Leadership is an interesting game. Sometimes it can seem easy with all strategies working cohesively together, other times it seems like nothing is working at all. I was at a networking dinner last night and the owner of a small business was expressing her frustration of having people working for her and asked me ‘how can I control my team’? What do you think my response was?
It’s an interesting concept when we think about ‘controlling people’. This business owner was frustrated as her team were doing their own thing despite the constant instruction and requests. She just didn’t quite understand that you can’t control others. The only thing you can control is you – who you choose to be, how you react to situations and others. Period! The problem she has isn’t a team problem; it’s a communication problem. And that starts with the leader. Until she takes responsibility for that nothing will change.
In fact, another leader was telling me about a situation they experienced the other day and was quite dismayed that a team member had been aggressive and quite threatening to them in a performance conversation. We discussed what had happened prior to the formal conversation and it was clear to me why this happened. What this leader failed to realise was how they were ‘being’ prior to this conversation effectively ‘set the tone’. The leader had been angry, aggressive and threatening towards the team member both directly and in a passive aggressive manner. How did they expect the person to react when they felt ‘under attack’ and threatened? The leader created this situation also.
For leaders to have influence, make an impact for the right reasons and achieve the results they need to – they must manage themselves first. If you can’t manage yourself first how can you expect to manage your team?
By manage yourself I mean:
- your attitude
- your ‘busyness’
- your emotions
- your expectations
- your communication (as in the examples above)
- how you react when they feel challenged
- your frustrations
- how you look after yourself
- how you listen
- how you respond.
The list could go on but I’m sure you get the drift. It can seem so reasonable to think we have a people or team problem when in reality it’s not. It’s a ‘You’ problem! This can be confronting and difficult to accept however when you do things can change. By choosing to turn a blind eye and blaming the team can lead you down the path of irrelevance – fast!
If you have any chance of being respected and influential you first have the responsibility to manage and lead yourself. Only then can you be considered any sort of leader.
Keep your standards high.