Just child’s play?
Follow my leader is a children’s game in which the players must follow the actions of their leader. They all fall in line, behind their chosen leader, and any rogue players who do not do as their leader does are out of the game!
So, it’s no surprise that in the corporate world that the culture and habits of teams are defined by the leader and management team. Employees, on the whole, will mimic both the good and bad perceived habits of the person they report to.
Punctuality, dedication, attention to detail, professionalism, pride in one’s work, customer centricity and other positive attributes ripple down through the management hierarchy to the workforce they lead to nurture and grow on an individual level.
Unfortunately, poor leadership traits such as taking credit for the work of others, failing to trust and empower, hiring and firing the wrong people, not providing adequate support and playing the blame game spread quicker but pollute the environment and can take a long time to eradicate. Poor leadership is often responsible for poor team performance and high attrition rates with employees quitting their boss rather than their job!
Leadership does not come naturally for all and just because someone performs well or even over-performs in a particular role it doesn’t naturally follow that they will be an effective leader of others. Yet, when employees are promoted into management or leadership roles, how much training and mentoring are they given?
One way to help leaders improve their game is to hold up a mirror and let them see what how they are perceived by their team, colleagues, managers as well as the wider workplace community they come into contact with.
Another is to encourage them to watch and learn from other leaders they admire and respect, and who have the admiration and respect of their team. Pretty much like how they learnt when playing Follow My Leader as a child.
Of course, some people are just natural born leaders who instinctively know how to command respect and inspire teams to be their best workplace self.
What makes a good leader?
This is a good question to ask team members themselves to get their thoughts, but in my view, a good leader:
- Cultivates a positive culture
- Commands respect and loyalty
- Inspires teams to perform at their very best
- Takes responsibility for each team members well-being
- Fosters feelings of inclusion and value for each team member
- Ensures professional, positive and effective communication throughout the workforce
- Actively listens and takes appropriate action
The image on this blog is that of Rogue, my 5 year old firecracker and force of nature great niece who, it appears, already has that natural ability to lead. Rogue knows what she wants to do and what she wants everyone else to do too. She is quick to size up people she comes into contact with and instinctively knows how to cajole and influence them around to her way of thinking. She’s highly engaging, driven, super smart and determined. But Rogue knows too that to get us all to follow her, she has to be prepared to do lead by example and get stuck in herself.
There are a number of tools available to help turn your managers into leaders. Engage is one of these which can help provide a 360 degree view of your managers and provide real time pulse checks of the workforce at large. It can also help to comply with the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code to ensure employees voice is heard in the boardroom and in board reports.
For more information and a demonstration to show how Engage could work in your organisation, please request a demo via our contact form.