Observing Senior Leaders

A short piece over at From the Green Notebook on the lessons to be learned from observing your bosses.

Behavior is magnified. Manner of speech is scrutinized. Word choice becomes paramount. Even facial expressions or nervous tics become gossip fodder for the organization’s followers. 

An eye-roll or snarky remark will be remembered forever.

Additionally, many of us have experienced the chill that comes over a room when a senior leader expresses disappointment or anger over some small transgression during a routine meeting. Hushed whispers circulate immediately following the meeting to determine what was meant by some cryptic statement or sarcastic remark.

You have likely seen the effects of a strong or weak senior leader in your organization. The entire “vibe” of a place can change based solely on the behaviors and attitudes of “the boss.”

This works in positive and negative ways.

There is a lot to learn from simple observation.

The FTGN article pairs well with this from Harvard Business Review.

It’s easy to think that building a culture is about other people’s behaviors, not how you act as a leader. But I believe that culture change begins when leaders start to model the behavior they want the organization to emulate.

Leaders Can Shape Company Culture Through Their Behaviors

We can’t just tell our organizations to “innovate” or “focus on x trait.” We have to model the behavior first. We have to demonstrate that this thing we are saying is important by doing it ourselves.

And on innovation:

If you want to be innovative, you also need to accept failure. If our associates aren’t pushing boundaries and sometimes failing along the way, we probably aren’t pushing hard enough. But by accepting and even celebrating a failed effort, we promote innovation.

This is so important. If we truly want to innovate, we have to accept, embrace, and celebrate failure. If the reward for failure is punishment or admonition, it is easier to just do things the way they’ve always been done and avoid the drama.

Image source: DVIDS


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