Have you ever received an email from a senior member in your workplace and realise that despite the attempt to mask it, the senior member was nasty to you? Also, you know that they think by sticking ‘have a good day’ at the bottom of the email, they think you are stupid and will not notice it. These types of leaders exist in our day-to-day lives. It could be at work or anywhere but know for sure that you are in trouble when you have such. They like to remind you that they are your leader and emphasize how important they are to the organization as if you are not. A very simple definition of an organisation says it is about people coming together for one purpose, business or whatever. Having said that, yes, there will be hierarchies for this organization to function well but it does not mean that those below a certain grade in the structure should be treated with disrespect.
What is leadership anyway? I will go for a simple definition. I am not writing an academic paper here.
Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal (Kevin Kruse). I find this definition simple and it encompasses what I want to say. It is not about saying to people ‘look I am intelligent, cleverer than you, the big man or woman of the company and there is you this little nothing member of the organisation’). Trust me some leaders exude these traits. In my 13 years of living in the UK, I have come face to face with leaders like these. It is as if they cannot help it. You rather want to say ‘we know you are, who are, do not rub it in my face’. However, why should it be like that? There is no need. How can one expect to influence the people they are belittling or mocking? It doesn’t work.
I remember a friend many years ago whose Senior Lead used to waltz in her subordinates’ office and moans about how she doesn’t understand why people get to the next day with no money. As far as she was concerned such people could only be stupid. My friend was like ‘wow’. There was a woman with money who didn’t know what it meant to be on a lower wage and struggling to make ends meet. She would do this every week on her way from lunch shopping. What sort of motivation would you get from that type of person?
I think if you are a leader, it doesn’t qualify you to use that privilege to bully and belittle subordinates.
Great leaders find the balance between business foresight, performance, and character. They have vision, courage, integrity, humility and focus along with the ability to plan strategically and catalyse cooperation amongst their team. They do not walk around puffing their chests to show that they run the show.
Please be Kind.