Signals of confusion from business leaders
When in a position of leadership, we need to be fully aware of the effect we are having on the business and all the people in it.
If you so much as sneeze, everyone takes notice.
Literally, everything you do as a leader makes people take notice. You are setting the values, culture, behaviours and pace of the business. This is why it's so challenging to be in a position of leadership. You literally have to be constantly aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and present the correct behaviours to your teams - otherwise the behaviour gets amplified and reverberates throughout the organisation. Your actions can literally create a tsunami of change. This may be for the good! But often the change we instigated wasn't intentional, and comes back to add more things to our in-tray (and that's not a good thing, right?).
Be really aware of what you are doing, and ask the question as often as you can: "What kind of ripples will 'this' create in my leadership team and my people"
One important aspect of your 'influence' as a leader is the psychological safety within the business. Your actions and words can trigger fight/flight/freeze responses. As humans, we are hardwired to react to change and behaviours that we perceive to be dangerous and threatening. We just can't help seeing the worst...even in seemingly trivial situations.
I remember once when I made the mistake of telling a team member off in front of all the other people in the department. I blindly proceeded to destroy the enthusiasm of the individual, and set a 'feeling' in the workplace. I'm not sure what was going through people's heads, but I can imagine it was "this could be me next". Fight/flight/freeze responses were probably triggered to varying degrees. I acted quickly after having this pointed out to me. I gathered the team and I apologised to the individual because;
1) It was the right thing to do, and
2) It reset the psychological safety of the workplace.
The feeling of safety in the workplace is more important than you think. If people don't feel safe, their attention focuses on the object of fear. Great amounts of energy and thought are expended avoiding this object of fear, instead of focusing on solutions and creative directions for the business. If you become the object of fear, without question, you are making your life harder AND affecting the bottom line of the business.
Tip: Get your vision and values right and then demonstrate them.
A good way to send out the right signals and help you make your life easier as a leader is to live, eat and breath the vision and values that the business has created. If you have them tucked away in a drawer and only use them for PR exercises, I suggest you dust them off and start communicating them into the organisation. Continually talking about them, living them and having discussions around them, help you as a leader to make sure you are sending out the right signals to the business. You are a powerful transmitter within the organisation.
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