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Leadership Thought #460 – You Set The Tone in Your Organization

January 9, 2014

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The leader of an organization must always set the tone.  Never forget this fact.  I am regularly bemused when I hear a leader complain about the state of things in their organization.  It is as if they remove themselves from the equation.  They wonder how things have devolved to this point, as if it is some deep mystery when all they have to do is look in the mirror.

Your people reflect your hiring decisions.   The quality of your meetings relates directly to how you lead them and model this behavior for others.  Missing deadlines reflects what you are willing to tolerate in others and yourself.  A lack of focus usually starts at the top.  Teamwork only ever happens when the coach sets the expectations and creates the conditions for this to happen.

When confronting tricky situations in your business, start by looking inside yourself before passing the blame to others.  If you are willing to take FULL responsibility for what’s taking place in the environment that YOU have created, then you have a fighting chance of making positive changes.  The bottom line is that organizational culture is a direct reflection of the characteristics and behaviors of the leader.  Dysfunctional work environments are the product of dysfunctional leadership performance.  Cultural change requires leadership behavioral change.  You can complain all you want, but the truth is that it all starts and ends with you.

I encourage you to think about how you are showing up each day.  Reflect on these questions:

  • Are you a motivating force or de-motivating force?
  • Do you smile and create positive energy?
  • Do you walk around with the weight of the world on your shoulders?
  • Do you successfully engage in honest difficult conversations?
  • Are you modeling passive aggressive behavior?
  • Do you visibly enjoy the people you work with?
  • Do you send the message to those around you that you merely tolerate them?
  • Are you excited about customer service and doing excellent work?
  • Is it clear to those around you that you are simply in it for the money?
  • Are you staying focused on what’s most important?
  • Are you constantly being distracted and diverted by things of lesser importance?
  • Have you surrounded yourself with sycophants who regurgitate what you want to hear?
  • Are you really open to alternative points of view and new thinking?

Leadership is first about personal responsibility.  Your organization is only ever a reflection of your behaviors and decision-making.  You get to set the tone: good, bad, or otherwise, then you must live with the consequences.

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