A good organization understands the vital importance of leadership and management, and leaders and managers understand the vital importance of those they supervise and mentor. It has to be a top down-bottom up approach, where everyone has an equal say, but leaders and managers are there to make sense out of all the information they receive, as well as to guide and steer others within the company.
Good managers are mindful of the simple fact that they are in relationships with their employees. And those relationships require tending. They must demonstrate excellent people skills and interpersonal interactions. Managers who fulfill their relationship responsibilities will have more informed, and more productive, employees.
The Biggest Mistake A Leader Can Make – www.HarvardBusiness.org
One of the problems that leaders and managers face is that there is an almost ingrained distrust, or suspicion. There is distrust of the leaders and managers—suspicions of their abilities, their integrity and their agenda. Trust means confidence. It is the small, day-to-day things that build trust or lead to a sense of betrayal among employees. And trust is the backbone of any relationship, personal or professional. Strong organizations and managers know that people and the relationships get the work done. Business is conducted through relationships.
Leaders and managers sometimes have to make difficult decisions that not everybody will be happy with, and if there is a lack of trust it is all too easy to assume they made those decisions for personal gain, rather than the greater good of the organization.
Important psychological research has indeed demonstrated that there are corrupting factors within power. High-powered people hold others to a higher standard. They are more likely to cheat and are less tolerant of others breaking the same rules.
Not everybody in power will succumb to corruption. Some of us are fully immune and from those that aren’t, a large proportion actively chooses not to be corrupt. However, the distrust is automatically there and one of the main challenges faced by leaders and managers is how to overcome that.
Furthermore, our leaders and managers are encouraged at all times to pursue excellence. The idea is that in doing so, in fighting to achieve excellence at the top, achieving excellence at every point will follow automatically. Some, however, think that this is a huge mistake.
Managers should take aim at things we hold dear, such as excellence, fairness and collaboration. There are seven so called “sacred cows,” being:
- and preparation
Only by getting all of these right will managers not become – or appear to have become – corrupt.
An Example of Best Practice
The company Gen Y is known as a dynamic, creative and optimistic company. Their staff members regularly provide feedback on leadership and management and on how they feel things could be done better. They feel leaders should be able to offer constructive criticism.
Leaders should be kind but firm when delivering these comments and offer to explain further if needed. They should also offer positive feedback whenever possible, as well as offering constant feedback. It is these processes that make employees feel valued and understand that there is no corruption in the top echelons of their organization.
Personal credibility is the foundation of leadership and being trustworthy is a core component of credibility. It begins by saying what you are going to do, then doing what you say you will do. They should be active listeners and consider others’ input. Knowing how to communicate, get things done and make decisions within the culture at hand will make or break a leader in his or her role.
Many organizations now know that they have to create what is known as an “ethical workplace.” The key to success is that there is trust between the different levels. There is a need for leadership and management, but their tasks can only be performed appropriately if the rest of the workforce trusts that what lies at the heart of their decisions is the good of the company and the good of the workforce. Hence, defining what trust is should always be the first step towards restoring confidence in the leadership and management of a company. Trust is telling the truth, even when it is difficult, and being truthful, authentic, and trustworthy in your dealings with employees.
Restoring workplace trust requires that three questions be answered: What is trust; why is it important; and how do organizations build it. Interestingly, few of the responses indicated that our economic crises and their aftershocks were the actual cause of rising distrust.
The Financial Aspect
We continue to go through times of tough financial austerity and companies try to save money wherever they can. However, sometimes it is necessary to spend money in order to make money, and it seems that having trust in leadership and management is worth around $305 billion each and every year. That is a serious amount of money and shows the importance of investing in the best leaders and managers money can buy. It seems that a key is that those at the top need to find ways to engage the full workforce in decision making processes.
To restore productivity HR needs to stop being “an advocate of people” and become “an advisor on productivity.”
There are a few things that companies have to bear in mind. First of all, different age groups have differing motivations. Secondly, the role of HR is to be operational and strategic. Last but not least, it is about being engaged across the board, which gives that top down and bottom up approach that is so incredibly important.
The Personal Issue
One last problem is that many managers feel they have lost their identity through their work. When working for a certain company, they slowly but surely start to live, breathe and be the identity that comes with the organizational culture. For instance, a company that is all about the profit will produce leaders and managers that focus solely on the profit. They may be fantastic managers, with the right people skills and the right experience, but place them in a different company with a different ethos, and they will no longer be able to perform, even if they claim that the new ethos is one they would actually support far more so than that of the previous company.
Companies that recruited top talent away from successful organizations often found that their leaders could not transfer their formula for success.
This is why it is important that any leader or manager defines a style or approach that is particular to them. They should learn how to tell their own story and never stop in their own path of growth and learning. In turn, they should foster continuous learning by developing their employees. They must display professionalism at all times and role model the company culture. Last but not least, they have to understand the bigger picture – the fact that they are mentors and guides. Put all of this together, and you will have a leader or manager that will never corrupt and will instead carry their workforce to greater levels.