How to be a Good Leader Instead of a Tyrant
Why be a good leader…
Let’s be honest, there’s no real lasting joy in being a tyrant. And it’s stressful too, really stressful.
The worst part about it is that it starts a domino effect of fear. And before you know it your workers are afraid to make the very decisions that they were hired to make. This, in turn, puts even more on your plate (as if you’re not busy enough).
What if there was another way out?
Instead of shouting shrieking and hollering how about changing your approach altogether.
Even if it’s not for the mental wellbeing of those under you, how about doing it for your own.
How to effect change
Firstly, before you get into any real solution, you must understand that your mind will make it difficult to change. At the first roadblock or problem, you will feel the strong urge to return to being the proverbial taskmaster. Don’t give it. There’s too much to gain. Take a break, take a walk, have adeep breath, but don’t start back shouting and firing missives here there and everywhere.
Now that you know how to deal with that first mental roadblock, it’s time to do some research on yourself.
I can almost see you thinking about how absurd I sound, after all, you know yourself better than anyone else, right?
When it comes to our less-than-desirable qualities we have a tendency to gloss over or embellish the facts. As they say, everyone’s a protagonist in their own story.
Take a cross section of employees that work with you and one by one, in private have a frank and honest discussion with them.
You might want to start by making them comfortable and telling them that you realize you need to do some work on yourself to become the leader they deserve (the leader you want to be). Admit that you’ve fallen short and put both them and yourself under immense and undue stress.
Then, and here’s the kicker, ask them what you do wrong.
Be open to the criticisms that come, remember you need it to grow.
You’ll likely be amazed and embarrassed by what you hear, especially if they’re being brutally honest.
At this point, try not to become defensive. Difficult, yes, but also necessary.
Now that you have a laundry list of problems to work on, treat them not as personal problems, but problems the company faces. Problems that affect the bottom line and can cripple your business. In the end, that’s what they are, you just need to step away enough to see it.
The problem with looking soft
If you’re concerned (or disgusted) by the idea of using your juniors for an assessment of your leadership because it makes you look weak, let me assure you right now, that thought is weakness itself.
Think about this, when many products are first prototyped numerous iterations are made before it gets to the market. And even then numerous improvements are made to increase its demand and effectiveness.
To think that as a leader, you are perfect without ever implementing any change on yourself if nothing short of arrogant and absurd.
Operating as though you’re perfect will only further undermine your authority and reduce the ab=mount of respect your subordinates have for you. If you’re saying to yourself, that’s ok, they’ll still fear me, fine. But remember this, the best leaders are not the ones who are feared. The best are on whose authority is respected by building a culture of continuous improvement starting with them.
A leader who is willing to undergo public change for the better will inspire employees to do the same. When this happens the company will win in the end.
But the leader who just cracks a whip, blames all the problems on the employees and continues in their previous form? He’s a failure. As a leader and a person.
In the end, I think as I hope you do too, that for the long-term wellbeing of your employees, yourself and your business it’s best to become a leader that people want to follow.
What will you do now?
Crack a whip?
Or Listen to your employees?