Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.
Why are leaders hesitant to do this?
This is the first principal of leadership. Everyone is watching. But leaders forget this all the time. Here’s why: they focus on their own feelings, needs and desires instead of the results they are trying to achieve. Once leaders start to view their leadership position as a way to get what they want instead of what others need, exposure as a fraud is the next stop. The leader’s temper tantrums will not save her from disgrace.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
Face the truth. A lot of leaders become angry and throw temper tantrums in the workplace. But such behavior is never viewed as a positive leadership trait except by the aspiring bullies who long to behave the same way. Read as many business books about angry leaders as you wish. Yes, some of those leaders succeed. They succeed in spite of their tantrums, not because of them. Everyone is always watching. And no one is inspired by anger.
How can you do it?
- Remind yourself and others. This easy lesson is also easy to forget. When you slip and behave badly, the watchers won’t rush in to offer their understanding and support. They will talk about you behind your back and hold it against you forever.
- Pretend there is a video camera in every room. There is.
- Stay in character. Like it or not, leaders are actors in important plays. The organizations they serve are comprised of people whose lives are powerfully affected by the decisions leaders make every day. Leadership is a humbling responsibility. When you pass your baton to the leader who follows you, your character is the baton you will hand off. Act accordingly.
How do you regularly remind yourself and others that everyone is watching every leader?