From 8 to 5, I worked side-by-side with your employees as they carried out their daily activities, walked to their weekly meetings, talked behind the water cooler, handed in their timesheets at the end of the day, and interacted with none other than yourself. Perhaps I stayed while they worked overtime, regrettably ignoring their husbands’ and wives’ phone calls to come home for dinner. In that short amount of time, I was able to get a basic feel for your company culture, values, and work environment.
Let’s say I hated it.
Based on my own collective experience, many C-suite professionals carry a skewed vision of true leadership. This results in negative work culture, uninspired employees, failed strategies, and, ultimately, missed goals. Without solid leadership at the top, all structures at the bottom fall apart.
That’s right: I’m blaming your terrible work environment on you.
True leadership goes beyond titles. Sure, I’m a CEO of a thriving company. But that isn’t what makes me a leader. Yes, I have plenty of individuals under me. But that doesn’t make me successful.
As John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Indeed, authentic leadership is an attitude, a skill, and a tendency. It is an ability to empower and inspire an otherwise lethargic team, to produce team goals, and to create success that aligns with such goals. It is a tendency to motivate employees and produce results, regardless of past failures and insecurities. It is an attitude of total responsibility for an organization’s success or failure.
Leaders don’t make excuses. Whether thriving or struggling, leaders are ultimately aware of their team’s condition.
If I were to ask you to rate the condition of your environment, what would you tell me? If I were to ask your employees, would their answer mesh with your own?
Are you a leader in practice, or are you a leader in name only?
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