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Leadership Thought #392 – Rise Above It

July 30, 2012

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It is easy to be sucked into petty disputes and inter-office politics, but as the leader, you need to rise above it.  You must always remember that your employees take their cultural cues from you. You are a role model!  If you become enmeshed in office gossip, then so will they.  If you use a divide and conquer management approach, they will do the same.  If you treat people poorly, then bad behavior towards others will become acceptable.  If you have a short fuse, then anger will become an acceptable management strategy.

I have been in enough companies now that if you give me thirty minutes with the leader and let me attend a management meeting, I will have a good feel for the culture of the organization.  It isn’t hard to connect the dots.  Most leaders are in a Shakespearean play or Greek tragedy of their own making.  They can either elevate the quality of dialogue and interaction in their organization or lower it.   Trust exists or it doesn’t.  People will either look up to their leader or talk about them negatively behind their back.

Unhappy, divisive, and mean-spirited people will always exist in life.   The good news is that strong cultures tend to surface and eject these people out relatively quickly.  As indicated, the first place you need to look when one of these individuals emerges in your organization is at yourself.  How did you create the conditions that made this possible?  Your job as the leader is to continually raise the bar in terms of performance and behavior expectations.

There will always be events outside the sphere of your control that affect your organization.  In these cases, all you can do is react in the best way possible.   If you believe you can meet any challenge and seize every major opportunity, then your people will as well.   In most cases, internal strife and organizational chaos are self-created.  We are what we tolerate and continually do.   Don’t get mired or distracted by interpersonal dysfunction or counter-productive behavior.  Rise above the fray and set a good example.  Expect great things of yourself and others regardless of what happens.  Be a leader people want to follow.