A Big thank you to our colleagues at Counts Consulting, LLC for giving us permission to post their previously published article. Permission granted VIA email 10/13/11. All articles are reprinted in their entirety as originally published.
You Are A Leader
Before we discuss leadership, I just wanted to let you know that I am going to be coming your way. During July and August, we plan on traveling in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.
Now to leadership: Each of us has an impact on people and events whether we are at home, work or just in our neighborhood. We influence other’s thinking and actions. This influence can be good or bad depending on our attitude. We’ve all had employees who complained, criticized and created dissatisfaction amongst other workers. These people are leaders, even though we don’t appreciate the direction they lead others.
I admit that it’s easier to be negative than positive because you don’t have to do anything except criticize and cast doubt on others’ actions. When someone takes charge, it means they are taking a chance, and that means they may fail. Many people don’t want to take a chance where they might fail so they make excuses and criticize anyone who tries to succeed. Also, the success of others makes them look bad so they try to play down any success or explain how the achiever had an “unfair advantage”. It’s much easier to kill an idea than to launch one, right?
You don’t have a choice. You are a leader. However, you do have a choice as to what kind of leader you are and what type you will allow to be part of your life and business.
I have observed several key characteristics of people who are POSITIVE and NEGATIVE leaders:
POSITIVE leaders accept personal responsibility for their decisions and actions. They don’t try to lay the problem off on others.
NEGATIVE leaders blame other people or circumstances for their problems.
POSITIVE leaders are committed, available and willing to be a part of the solution.
NEGATIVE leaders are committed to undermining the progress toward a solution and doubt the motives of those who would move forward.
POSITIVE leaders recognize that you can’t always wait for a consensus to get things done.
NEGATIVE leaders often use the excuse that they are waiting until everything is “just right” and, therefore, are usually just waiting and waiting.
POSITIVE leaders make time to think things through because thinking makes and saves time. A well thought out plan reduces errors and better coordinates the project and those involved.
NEGATIVE leaders find the time to wait, criticize and in general, delay the process.
POSITIVE leaders are willing to take a chance and accept a few mistakes.
NEGATIVE leaders know it won’t work, so why try.
POSITIVE leaders give credit to those around them. They praise those involved even if they only played a small part in the process. They look for reasons to praise people.
NEGATIVE leaders take all the credit for everything that turns out good and says, “I told you so” when there’s a failure or blame someone else.
POSITIVE leaders want others to grow and shine. They know the best way to grow is to have lots of help from people who are getting better and better at what they do.
NEGATIVE leaders resent those who excel because it points out their own lack of effort. POSITIVE leaders do not hesitate to ask for help. Why make mistakes when others can show you an easier or better way?
NEGATIVE leaders often “know it all” or have a “why ask, they don’t know anything” attitude.
POSITIVE leaders have vision and plans with deadlines. If they didn’t, it would not be an effective goal or a vision that is likely to get done.
NEGATIVE leaders don’t want goals because it would be obvious when they don’t reach them. “We’ll work out the details as we go along” is a good way to be over budget, behind schedule and possibly never complete the project.
Remember, negative people can undo everything you are trying to accomplish, and their leadership has to be replaced or your efforts will suffer, if not fail.
Unfortunately, I occasionally see businesses where the entire mood of the company is negative. Why? Because management constantly criticizes the employees and rarely, if ever, compliments them. Even when they tell someone they did a good job, they often negate the compliment by pointing out some mistake which was made in the past. They just can’t seem to say something positive and leave it positive.
If you want a staff of ineffective, poor performing people, then constantly belittle and criticize them. Employees with positives attitudes will try to find a job elsewhere. Those who have few skills and know that finding a job is hard for them will usually stay. Then, management really has a reason to be upset and often says something like, “what do you have to do to find decent people” to work for you. And they go round and round, doing the same thing over and over and keep wondering why they keep getting the same bad results.
Sound familiar? Maybe a better way to keep good employees would be to decide to be a good person to work for. What do you think?
Many years ago while working for a corporation, I was promoted to another job in a distant city, one of my better employees came in and congratulated me and gave me his two-week notice. I was flabbergasted. “Why would you quit”, I asked? ”You do great work.” His answer has stuck with me for over 30 years. He said “Actually, I hate this job. I just enjoyed working for you.”