Leadership and behaviors

BehaviorsThis post I dedicate to certain behaviors of a leader that mostly all of us should be familiar with. The greatest challenge lays almost always in how to recognize and distinguish them. We may assert that “ill” manner of behavior creates poor business culture (e.g. Enron, Lehman Bros, etc.) which leads to poor business performance and output. But what kind of a manner is “ill behavior”?  Ever heard of badmouthing colleagues, taking credit for other people’s work, lying about skills and experience or hiding mistakes, cutting corners?

Leaders today talk a lot about loyalty, retention, business values, of empowering employees, changes in compensation structures to gain flexibility in work schedules, of team building etc. as behaviors needed for great performance of employee. This raises a question whether in any relationship the behavior is completely reciprocal? I don’t believe so, because one party always wields more power over the other. The example may be obvious already in US: workers these days are all multitasking and happy to have the job. They are certainly not going to complain if they work 10 to 12 hours per day without being paid for the extra time.

sleeping managementSome of us may have already experienced a so called ‘sleeping management’ that suddenly wakes up and demands to do ‘now’ for a work to be done ‘yesterday’.

Can such behavior bring or increase loyalty and engagement in the workplace? In a positive corporate culture extra work is a signal to hire extra personnel or part timer or maybe improve planning and performance approach.

How can you as leader then challenge your behavior? The first step is certainly “by being aware of it” and this is the hardest as we are not inclined to objectively analyze ourselves. If that step is surpassed and the corporate culture is positive s/he challenges her/his weak points by being proactive, accepting feedback, maintaining a positive mind-set, modeling positive behaviors displayed by others and so on.

Is there a definite set of characteristics that makes correct leader behavior?

I don’t believe so. It all depends on the environment and other qualities: aspects of a person’s behavior, skills, temperament and intellectual ability. An exceptional leader provides the followers with an appropriate role model by demonstrating both, appropriate behavior and the relevant skills required.

researchWithin last two-three decades based on the research done different patterns of behavior were grouped together and labelled as styles. This became a very popular activity and a lot of books have been written, and still are. Despite different terms (adjectives) the basic idea of leadership stays the same. And so do behavior like skills in dealing with people, capacity to motivate people, task competence, excelling in communicating roles and responsibilities, understanding of followers and their needs, trustworthiness, provision of a path to success, creating a workplace culture that values real people relationships, fairness and openness, decisiveness, assertiveness, adaptability and flexibility - all and more is a model to the behaviors that followers seek in a leader. They all positively frame a leadership process.

I strongly agree with it with the addition that an exceptional leader learns through the years and years of experience to listen more, communicate better, to be more organized, eliminate disruptions and replications and to lead people with role model and not in a commanding way.

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