It seems that everywhere you turn political debates are raging. Wherever you look whether it’s television ads, door knocking or flyer dropping it’s in full swing. I had a very interesting conversation with my kids about what they noticed. The common theme that they said was that all of the ads look to be about pointing out all the negative things about the opposing candidate.
This has me thinking about leadership not just in politics, but across business. Some leaders have an approach that actually divides people, whilst others have an approach that unifies people. If you ask anyone what type of leader they would like to follow, the common answer is one who unifies. Often this is because they are behaving in a way that inspires and motivates others to behave not focusing on the negative and verbally belittling and berating other people in public.
So what can you do to ensure that you are a leader that unifies rather than divides? I think there are a few simple strategies that you can use that make a positive impact.
- Be a Role Model. Rather than just telling others how to behave, communicate or lead, ensure that you are demonstrating and role modeling how people should perform. The leaders that “walk the talk” are the ones that people will go the extra mile for. This can quickly unify staff and mobilise them into action.
- Ask to Understand – not interrogate Too often many leaders hear about a mistake that is made and interrogate their staff, unfortunately in a way that makes other staff jump for cover. Rather than making judgments and reacting take the time to ask staff why they have taken a particular course of action. There may have been a valid reason and they may be lacking in the skill to execute. By finding out their point of view you will quickly gain their loyalty.
- Take the time to be with your people. Too many leaders spend too much time in their office. When things don’t go well or to plan, they walk out of their office and let staff know that they are not happy. And then go back to their office. This creates a divide where many staff will stop sharing new ideas and start to lose their enthusiasm for the job. Instead, spend time with your people in their environment. Be seen as part of the team, not just the leader in the ivory tower looking down at everyone.
If we had more leaders taking these actions we would have less of a political divide and more support and unification to make things happen. Although these are simple actions that any leader can take, too often they use the excuse that they are “too busy.”
By hacking your leadership you can improve your impact on your people and ensure that you are a unifier of people.