Leading is Hard, But Not Complicated!

authentic leadership earning leadership employee engagement employee experience genuine influence leadership leadership culture profit profitability profitability killers top down top down approach Mar 02, 2023
top down approach

You will never hear me say that leadership, especially the kind of leadership that’s necessary to effectively run a large organization, is easy. What you will hear me say from time to time is that it’s actually damn hard! In fact, I’ve often heard John Maxwell joke about the book he has scheduled to be released immediately after he dies called Leadership Sucks. Don’t misunderstand me, or the title of John’s future book, in thinking that either of us are suggesting that leadership is complicated or difficult; neither are true! I say leadership is hard not because of the painstakingly complex work that’s involved but because ensuring we’re being the best example we can be for the people who count on us to lead can be a heavy burden. When we truly care for those people, and I don’t believe we should ever accept a role leading others if we don’t care for them, the level of responsibility is high!

If we really want to make an exponential impact as we work to address the things that are killing our profitability, we need to recognize that every action we take to exemplify genuine servant leadership to our teams will carry from the top down! When we invest time into how we communicate with our teams, individually or as a group, the leaders reporting to us have a clear example to follow. When we’re intentional about being responsive with those who need our time and attention - regardless of how tough it may be to provide that for them at any given time - it serves as a demonstration for how they can do the same for those they’re responsible for leading. And when we show our team members that we’ve always got their best interests at heart, not only are they likely to be incredibly engaged but they’ll rarely consider a position anywhere else!

While none of those things require fancy credentials or following complex procedures, they’re most certainly things we’ll need to weave into what’s likely an extremely heavy workload. That’s where it can get pretty tricky! On any given day, we will face pressure to choose the task that urgently needs our attention over the individual who’s asking for our ear. As high level managers, executives, or business owners, there will never be a shortage of issues demanding us to be hands-on. But if we don’t balance those tasks with a healthy dose of time for the people around us, we can expect to see that trickle down to every other level of our organizations.

If each new level of leadership responsibility is all about the money that comes with it, there will never be enough of it to be worth what it will take to earn authentic influence and buy-in from the teams around us. That said, when we focus on the impact we can have on each individual instead of the perks that may come our way, we can build a culture that thrives and provides rewards that can’t be had any other way. Will it be hard? Absolutely! But if we’re being honest, having a crap culture where mediocrity is the best anyone shoots for and no great people want to be a part of is stinking hard too! At least when we’re willing to engage in the hard, but extremely simple, steps required to lead well, the results payoff over time! Unfortunately, this requires many in the highest levels of their organizations to change how they view a few things so we’ll pick up there soon…