How to leaders get great results? By bringing out the best in their people and teams.
Leadership and Bullying
Ever been bullied in the workplace? I have. It is unacceptable. Bullying is a genuine leadership problem.
Leadership, as I define it in Leadership: The Warrior’s Art, means to inspire the spirit and act of following. Leaders do this by being trustworthy, treating people with respect and genuinely caring for their well-being.
This is a world of difference from the anything-goes, coercive model, “getting others to do what they would not otherwise do.” That mentality has been used to justify all sorts of toxicity and petty tyranny.
To be sure, leaders need coercive power in certain circumstances to keep others safe and address serious issues of anti-social behavior or poor performance. It is needed in direct combat or crisis if people are paralyzed by fear and uncertainty or putting lives at risk. But these situations are exceptional.
Senior leaders need to avoid an ostrich-like indifference to what is happening to their employees. Make a clear distinction — and enforce expectations — between leadership and authoritarianism, and you will improve business performance and address the problem of bullying.
Leadership and Results
Many management books offer leadership secrets from companies that are showing good results. Over time, however, we find that the results were often fleeting and the highly touted companies no longer doing so well.
Leaders get results, but the presence of good results does not necessarily indicate the presence of great leadership. Any petty tyrant can get short-term results. In the right situations, companies with incompetent or toxic bosses perform better than competitors who may be experiencing even bigger problems.
Great leaders get results by bringing out the best in their people.
They promote supportive relationships and opportunities for people to learn, grow, and adapt. They create a compelling sense of purpose and a clear strategy to achieve it. They adapt and make good decisions. They develop systems and processes that promote shared awareness and execution of key tasks with minimal frustration. They ensure the necessary resources and capabilities are present to do the job.
To assess the quality of leadership, look how the results are obtained.
Christopher D. Kolenda is President and CEO of Kolenda Strategic Leadership which helps Non-Profits maximize their impact and leadership. He commanded Paratroopers in combat and served as Senior Advisor to three Commanders of International Forces (ISAF) over four tours in Afghanistan. See his two books on applied leadership: Leadership: The Warrior’s Art and The Counterinsurgency Challenge.