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It’s not uncommon to find individuals, often in senior positions, within organisations who deliver great results but do so in a manner that’s seriously at odds with the values of the organisation.
And truth be told, the behaviours that these people demonstrate can also be lacking in common courtesy and respect towards their colleagues.
The morally strong and empathetic leaders will face directly into these difficult decisions and have the conversations that need to be had. They don’t find these conversations any easier than others, they just know they have to be had.
They know that every single person they lead, whether they report to them directly or not, is the most important person in the world to somebody else. They also know that what happens at work, doesn’t just affect those they employ whilst they are at work.
It has an impact on their lives out of work.
It also has an impact on their loved ones; especially when the bad behaviour of ‘someone who gets the job done’ is causing them stress, anxiety and sadness at work.
And it’s not just the actions of a leader that have such a wide-reaching impact.
It’s also the inaction of a leader. Or put more simply, what they don’t do.
I’ve seen and heard too many examples of someone in a team who delivers a ‘good’ end result, or has great industry knowledge, but has a toxic and damaging attitude accompanying it. And this makes me sad.
It makes me sad because I fundamentally believe that the job of a leader is to deliver the results and to look after the people that we have the privilege and responsibility to lead.
The most common response I hear from weaker or less experienced leaders when challenged by other colleagues, or myself, is…
“I know, I know, but they’re good at their job…”
But that’s not enough, and that can never be acceptable.
In failing to act, and avoiding what everyone around you can see, you send out a very clear message. You are saying:
• So long as you get the job done, we really don’t care how you do it.
• Results matter more than people.
• The toxic person’s behaviour is the acceptable standard around here.
• As a leader, I’m not strong enough to make the challenging, morally important decisions.
So please, in a time when many of those that we lead are feeling more pressure, stress and anxiety than ever before, don’t allow your inaction as a leader to make things worse for them and their loved ones.
Have the courage to make the difficult, right decisions as opposed to the easy, wrong ones.
Your team will reward your actions with their loyalty, hard work and extra discretionary effort.