How Do Our Intentions Influence Our Leadership ?

This post is not talking about our current political affairs, this post and discussion is about good vs. evil in leadership intention or rather ” bad leader” vs. “a good leader” I’m  talking about leadership in our workplace and how we wield our leadership influence. We are all leaders within – and the choices we make each day with our intentions have to start with us. We have the potential to choose to be “good” or “evil” within each of us.  Our actions have the ability to drive sustainable results in a positive or negative way; we make the choice how we wish to move forward in our lives.

Leadership is influence at its simplest form. As a leader, we influence others with our actions and words. When others choose to follow us, they choose to take on our character traits and follow our lead.  To be a leader is not just manage others, rather, it’s to take the responsibility to influence others to be their best – to carry forward your vision, your ideals and incorporate those ideals within their own life. It is a heavy responsibility to carry. It is not one to be taken lightly.

We must ask ourselves as we traverse our workplace, how does an employee experience our leadership?  How are we being interrupted by our employees?  The most impactful way we can see our leadership in action is through the quality of their work and productivity, culture of the workplace.  As leaders we can see our impact and measure the results we have created through our choices in this manner.

Leadership of others usually comes in two forms: tangible and intangible. Tangible support consists of training, tools, material, discipline, direction, procedures, rules, technical advice, documentation, information, planning, etc. Intangible support consists of feelings like confidence, morale, trust, respect, purpose, autonomy, ownership, engagement and empowerment.

Leadership happens every minute of every day because the vast majority of people are following the leader – some more, some less. The  only choice available to a leader is  to set the standard others  will follow—be that good, bad, mediocre or somewhere in between.

What makes for good Leadership?

  • Listening to your employees – addressing their complaints, suggestions, concerns, and personal issues at work.
  • Coaching people when necessary to raise them to a higher standard.
  • Allowing everyone to put in their two cents.
  • Trusting them to do the work.

A good leader is one that is not giving orders or setting visions, goals and objectives, but soliciting feedback from their employees so that everyone is fully involved in how the company will be successful. A good leader provides direction when needed to ensure that everyone is on the same page. A good leader communicates the vision that was set by all. If it is a vision of little interest, then another one must be found.

We all want to be heard and respected. Everyone has something to contribute. Listening and responding respectfully makes it worthwhile for employees to apply 100% of their brainpower on their work which unleashes their full potential of creativity, innovation and productivity thus making them highly motivated, committed and productive. All of this gives companies a very high morale, enables employees to take great pride in their work.  Good leadership multiplies whatever creativity, innovation and productivity.

Let’s take a look at what makes a bad leader.  What characterizes bad leadership?

  • Doling out orders, policies, rules, goals, targets, reports, visions and changes to force employees to work the way management believes it should be done.
  • Failing to listen or only unconsciously listening to complaints and suggestions.
  • Trying to motivate employees through faux methods
  • Exhibiting the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality
  • Providing insufficient support
  • Withholding information
  • Treating them as if they are lucky to have a job
  • Being afraid to discipline and never disciplining anyone
  • Staying in your office or in meetings at your level or above. The leader who leads behind the closed door.

Interesting the list for “bad” leadership is longer than what makes a good leader. Good leadership is not complicated, in reality. It requires us to be of character in our actions and deeds. Unfortunately, bad leadership tends to be more the norm than good these days. We can point out the negative faster than we can the good – which need to change. A bad leader is characterized by attempting to control employees through orders, policies, rules, goals, targets, reports, visions, bureaucracy, and changes all designed to almost force employees to work.

Bad leadership shuts off our natural creativity, innovation, and productivity and slowly but surely demoralizes us.  The “I know better than you” and the “be quiet and listen to me” mentality often projected will make many of us tuned out the message.  Most bad leadership is the result of a top-down, command and control style of management, where the employee is rarely if ever listened to. This style is prevalent in the workplace and ignores every employee’s basic need to be heard and respected. It also results in a knowledge barrier and top management becoming ignorant of what is really going on in the workplace and the marketplace, which in turn makes their directives misguided at best and irrelevant at worst.

 

Jennifer Olney
Over the course of my career, I have been sought after by numerous organizations to bring my talents in the arenas of sales, marketing and business development. As the Founder and Director of Business BEALEADER, I bring my experience to the table to expand the knowledge base for those seeking to find their own leader within. In 2011, I created BEALEADER to be a platform for individuals to share their expertise and leadership to make others better by being a resource of business, career and marketing solutions for those who are just starting out or maybe have a “few” years under their belt and need keep their skills fresh. In addition to the BEALEADER platform, I have developed the business units BEALEADER Business Services, which provides marketing, business development and human resource management services and BEALEADER Executive Coaching Services, which provides one on one and group coaching services to executives and individuals. These business units expand our ability and brand to make others better as we reach out to our audience with these unique product offerings. In 2014, I was named to the Inc.com list of Top 101 Leadership Speakers and I have written for several publications such as Yahoo! Small Business, Business 2 Community and others. I have also co-hosted several podcasts and in 2015 will be hosting the BEALEADER podcast for our audience as well.
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney
Jennifer Olney

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  • October 11, 2012

    gillardp

    Hi Jen,
    This sounds like it will be a great topic of discussion tonight! I may be able to pop in for a bit, but we have a parent information night at school tonight from 6-7:30. I would much rather be at the chat! Interesting how my brain began categorizing the leaders I have now and those in the past into the + and – columns. One area of leadership style that I think can really shine is the Introverted Leader as most have the listening strength and the reflection/self-reflection characteristics. These are so critical in the leadership role. I hope the chat is BUSY tonight!
    Peg

  • October 11, 2012

    Jennifer Olney

    Thanks, Peg. We will miss you tonight. As I wrote this piece I had a few folks in mind too from the past. It is interesting how our minds drifts to the examples of good and bad leaders we have known over our lifetimes to date. Introverted leaders – that’s a great idea as well. So many can be misunderstood with that trait as a “bad” leader when in reality there are not. Look forward to catching up with you this weekend at our others chats. Cheers.

  • October 11, 2012

    Renee G

    Reblogged this on LibGrl and commented:
    “Bad leadership shuts off our natural creativity, innovation, and productivity and slowly but surely demoralizes us.”

  • October 11, 2012

    Renee G

    Love this – thank you! reblogged. “Bad leadership shuts off our natural creativity, innovation, and productivity and slowly but surely demoralizes us.”

  • October 11, 2012

    Jennifer Olney

    Thanks, Renee!

  • October 11, 2012

    David

    “A good leader is one that is not giving orders or setting visions, goals and objectives, but soliciting feedback from their employees so that everyone is fully involved in how the company will be successful.”

    I don’t agree with this for the most part. I think 50% of a leader’s job should be soliciting feedback from their employees, but the other 50% of the leader’s job is setting a vision. You are suggesting that a group as a whole lead by consensus, this sort of leadership is like a horseless carriage and it is inefficient. You need someone like Steve Jobs who was a visionary to cast the vision and instill motivation, he would have been an even better leader if he cared for people and their feedback instead of being a jerk to many.

  • October 11, 2012

    Jennifer Olney

    David, Steve Jobs is overrated in my opinion. Yes, visionary with his creative ideas but his leadership was not what sold his products nor what endeared him to many. I find so many buy the hype of myth of Jobs. As to my point, it leads to the idea of command and control – the dictator leader – which is becoming more and more a dinosaur these days. Leaders need to be more inclusive with their teams and yes hands off. Yes, you need to set the stage and vision, but it cannot be based in ones own ego trip.

  • October 11, 2012

    David

    Jennifer, again I would say you are 50% right. I’m not a Steve Jobs fan or an Apple product fan for that matter, BUT, Apple has contributed to a more connected world, and if it wasn’t for Steve Job’s vision you would not have Apple.

    An ideal leader leads with his/her vision and at the same time treats everyone around him as a necessary asset for the success of a mission. It seems you are implying that somehow a vision should be carried out collectively and is lead by consensus.

    I can think of examples where if it wasn’t for great men and women who had visions and were the most fit to lead, you would not for example see things like slavery ending. William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr. stood against the majority and lead with their vision. A consensus would have never solved this issue as the collective vision at that time was to keep the status quo.

  • October 12, 2012

    Jennifer Olney

    A leader should have feedback to their own vision. This is not a discussion one leader who leads an vision alone but rather taking into account feedback and incorporating the feedback into their vision. Leaders must be not have tunnel vision to see only their vision but a vision that can carry out that benefits everyone involved.

  • […] This post is not talking about our current political affairs, this post and discussion is about good vs. evil in leadership intention or rather ” bad leader” vs. “a good leader” I’m  talking …  […]