Follow the Leader? Not Always.

January 30th 2017

OK, leaders. Listen up. You’re doing some stuff that runs counter to your goals and interests. You’re confusing people, because what you say differs from what you do. For example:


  • Your mission statement says team members are your most valuable resource. But then you treat them as though they are interchangeable or disposable. You allow distractions in one-on-one meetings with employees. You only offer annual reviews, when they’ve told you that after action reviews would be more useful. You survey them ad nauseum, then you don’t reveal the results and you don’t take any of their suggestions. In doing things like these, you demonstrate that they really are not your most valuable resource.


  • You tell your team you want them to lead happy, healthy personal lives, because you know a happy healthy person makes a more productive worker. But then you regularly text and email them late at night or early in the morning, because that’s when you have time to handle certain matters. You’re the boss, so they respond, regardless of what else they might be doing. You are now cutting into their personal time, they are allowing it, and they might be intruding on another employee’s time as a result. You have created a chain reaction that can lead to burnout.


  • You introduce the latest technology that will significantly improve firm operations, and then you let your older partners off the hook, telling the team that it’s just not efficient to try to teach an old dog new tricks. Your team members grit their teeth, learn the new processes, and start looking for a job where everyone is treated with the same respect.


See what I mean? What you’re saying and what you’re doing don’t align. 


I know you don’t mean to send mixed messages. I know you’re doing what you believe is the most efficient and effective thing. You have a lot on your plate.


But here’s the thing: people will follow what you do, not what you say. They aren’t walking around quoting your firm’s mission, vision, and values statements. They’re watching you and they are emulating your behavior.

leadership, communication, management


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