Another post driven by a LinkedIn discussion. In response to a general question about leadership and the top down vs. organic business organizational models.
One of the hardest parts of being a leader is getting your employees to follow. I lead by example. I became certified in everything my employees were certified in.
How do other leaders get their employees to follow?
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t think about leading or connive to do it…do it. Be honest even if you don’t always have good news or are communicating your own error or misjudgment. Lead by example…sure…but allow others to also lead and occasionally you follow. Look outside your industry and don’t live with blinders on. Set your expectations and then communicate them clearly. Draw the leadership line when it comes down to a decision and take responsibility for that decision…this is when you lead and they must follow. Encourage challenging you and be flexible when your team alerts you to needed planning changes. Have a plan…don’t just wing it. If you “wander around” be sure you are managing…not micro-managing.
It should be noted that as much as we would like to find a perfect formula or model it is very much situational, driven as much by leadership “talent” as it is by knowledge or system and that there are success stories for both the top down or the organic model.
The truth is that in all too many organizations the model is actually a top down that pretends for the sake of [pick your favorite reason for attempting to mislead your own employees and write it here] resulting in an organization that generally has diluted responsibility sufficiently to hide ineffective leaders for years at a time. If you pick either model you must follow through and lead with consistency.
Leadership is an art. Good leadership is organic, evolving.