Firstly, let me start out by saying I am no expert in leadership, nor do I think I am a great leader. But over the years I have had some great leaders and some not-so-great leaders. I am lucky enough to currently be led by one of the best, so I am learning as I go. Each different leadership style has strongly influenced my motivation and performance over the years, so leadership style certainly matters.
As I write this I am reflecting on different perspectives and considering leadership from the view of an employee, so I ask you, what culture are you creating at your workplace with your employees?
There are leadership styles (typical large corporate company) where the boss/CEO is at the top of the organisation chart directing orders at the employees at the bottom of the organisational chart. This can be likened to a bird sitting on a perch (boss), when it looks down all it sees is crap (employees) and if the employees look up, all they can see is an a$$hole. No that doesn’t sound like a good environment, but I am sure many of you have worked at a place like this before where there is disconnect between you and the leader.
I certainly have worked in organisations like this, and that is exactly how it feels, low motivation, stress, low enjoyment, avoidance etc. However, now and I am lucky to work in a company with a great leader, who leads from the side, allowing me to make decisions and be creative, challenge ideas, motivate and empowering me to put in 100%. I am far more productive, and I genuinely want to work harder and longer. I am not told what to do or bossed around, I am empowered with added responsibility to make the best decisions, and guided when those decisions could be improved. Whereas a top-down leadership approach often increases stress and anxiety on a daily basis and can negatively influence productivity. Employees are scared to ask questions and make mistakes and the leaders only concern is the bottom line.
This is the difference between Dissonant leaders and Resonant leaders. A dissonant leadership style focuses primarily on reaching goals and they are focused on facts, figures, and statistics rather than the individuals. They lead by being authoritative with less social and emotional connection with employees.
Whereas resonant leaders create more connection with their employees, they promote positivity, creativity and the ability to improve the social and emotional aspects of work. They motivate and empower others to be the best they can and build strong positive relationships.
Creating a positive environment with positive relationships will reflect back on your business. The more your employees enjoy their work and their environment, staff retention and productivity often improves which reflects positively on your business.
I think it important as a leader / boss to put yourself in the perspective of your staff members and ask, “Would I like to be led by me?” “If I was my employee would I be driven to give 100%?”
So, here is my reflection of what a leader is to me.
A leader is someone who you want to be around, you trust their opinion and their guidance. They lead from the side and allow you to make decisions. They spark curiosity and creativity by engaging you and making you feel like you matter and are part of the team. They make you want to work as if it is your own business, they put their trust into you and allow autonomy. A leader makes you feel like your work is valued and is inspiring positive change in others. A leader is someone you can ask question to and not be made to feel stupid. A leader is someone who will challenge you and encourage you to challenge them. A leader will be able to back up their decisions with reasoning and take ownership for mistakes. A leader is open to feedback and cares about their team members. A leader will back you up when you need it, a leader builds a strong team by empowering others, not by making demanding orders. A leader is someone you can learn from and model your leadership style on theirs. A leader doesn’t try to prove they are the best or most valuable because the leader knows that they are nothing without their team.
That’s what a leader is to me.
What does leadership mean to you?