How often do we hear of bad behaviour and in particular bad behaviour from leaders?
Over the last few months I have been completely blown away on how bad leadership behaviour is very much operating in our organisations. We clearly need to address this and recognise this is not acceptable.
Welcome to our weekly leadership blog. It’s a shame to be writing this blog but if I don’t do the right thing then I am really letting my fellow humans down.……….Nick Roud Aug 2021
I was asked by a prominent CEO of a global business here in New Zealand to work with 2 of his senior executives who in his words ‘were very close to coming to blows’. When the 4 of us met together in his board room the message from the CEO was very clear.
If we all can’t sort this behaviour out then I will have no choice but to remove you both from the organisation is that clear enough for you both?
It was a coaching engagement I will never forget and one that now sees both executives working far better than anyone thought possible. Goes to demonstrate that behaviours can be address, standards lifted and a better environment for all be created.
But today’s leadership blog is not about that specific coaching engagement, its something that as an executive coach I am hearing far too much when coaching clients. As you take your time to digest I am keen to make it clear that there is no right or wrong ‘behaviour’. We all have options. Todays blog is more about how bad behaviour can and does really effect others!
If, when reading this blog you say to yourself………..hold on that’s me. I do that. I behave that way! Can I encourage you to do one thing please.
That one ask is to look in the mirror and ask yourself ‘would I like to be treated that way’?
If you recognise one or more of these behaviours creeping into your leadership tool box than it’s ok to acknowledge them and it’s absolutely ok to put effort into improving or looking at ways to completing eradicate them from your ’tool-box’. I can assure you, once you commit yourself to making a positive change great things will happen. Not only will you be a better person but those who you lead will also be better off and as they say the rest will take care of itself………
We all make mistakes, none of us are immune or a picture perfect leader, I very rarely coach a leader who hasn’t or doesn’t show up with behaviours that when on reflection they wished they had done differently. We all act in certain ways when under enormous pressure and stress. I know myself that when the kids are nailing me to play back yard cricket and I have to get some report written or meal to prepare for them that I can be very short and sharp with them. When I reflect on my own bad behaviour towards them I know its not the right approach, I apologies to them – give them a cuddle and get outside to play back yard cricket……..all they care about is time with me as a dad and to muck around. Learning to understand where the other person (or in this instance our kids are coming from can be a great starting point to our own development). Just for the record Louie is getting pretty good at smacking the ball out of the back yard……..look out Black Caps J
The leader of today (2021) is under enormous pressure. I have written a great deal over the years about leadership being lonely at the top. Never has a leader been squeezed by so many uncontrollable variables, so many unanswered questions, so many demands on his/her time but one thing people will not tolerate is bad behaviour to others. It is simply not acceptable and if you are not able to draw a line in the sand, acknowledge and step forwards to make change I am sorry to say that you will not be leading organisations or people much longer. People are moving away from organisations who allow this behaviour to occur.
Great leadership is everywhere, just spend some time to consider; who has really made a massive impact on you as a professional? What were some of the traits, behaviours and styles that that particular leader demonstrated (constancy) to you?
So many professionals are desperate to see constancy from their leaders, they are ok for leaders not to have all the answers and they are ok with leaders being themselves.
In preparing for our blog I wanted to create themes but unfortunately the list was way to long for this blog (could be our next book………) so in order to make our time together specific I have listed out some top ones!
Again, as I said at the outset of today’s blog if you feel yourself falling into one (or more) of these themes then just stop! Breathe and consider this message from me.
Would I like to be treated like this?
If the answer is no then let’s get to work let’s talk things thru.
If the answer is yes then I wish you all the best in your longevity as a leader!
Rather than start a To Do List I thought we should try and create a STOP DOING List’.
It’s all about the money.
Let’s be clear it should never be all about the money! As leaders those who ensure and create a healthy, vibrant, safe culture for our people to flourish in will naturally succeed. Leaders and organisations must be guided by values, mission, purpose and above all relationships with internal and external people. We should really step away from just focussing on growing our bottom line, our shareholders return, our margins, our ROI. Sure profit and money is vital to any business longevity but it should not be the main driver! The All Blacks rugby team in New Zealand have such a easy to implement mantra, ‘To leave the jersey in a better place’ for the next person……….not sure I read ‘to make as much money as I possible can’!
A wonderful guru once said to me we are born with two ears and one mouth!
Speaking last, great leaders know the power of speaking last. Too often an immature leaders feels their voice is far superior to anyone else’s and will drown out, speak over or even interrupt others to make his/her point. Let’s consider why we were born with two ears and one mouth! The more we listen the better our response might be (if a response is indeed needed).
Thinking you are the smartest person in the room.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to work for a ‘smart alex’. There is no reason to show anyone you are smarter than them. Surround yourself with outstanding people and as a leader your job is to get out of their way…..Exceptional leaders do not need to prove to anyone that they are superman or superwomen. Ultimately they are just very comfortable in their own leadership ‘skin’. No better testament to great leadership than just being you!
Throwing others under the bus.
The most annoying way to destroy a leadership group is to throw a fellow colleague under the bus. One in – all in is a mantra many sporting teams live and breathe by. If one of our team mates makes a mistake, we get around that person, support them, help them and encourage them back onto their feet. We don’t leave them out in the cold to die – a theme by many elite arms forces around the world. Trust is vitally important for a team to gel, work and build a lasting legacy Each leader plays a part, come together for the greater good, not to ‘stand on the shoulders of others’
Making hurtful remarks.
I was reading a wonderful book recently on Bill Campbell a giant of the coaching world and in particular Silicon Valley, he was coaching a successful Google Executive who had made the list of top 10 tyrants…….basically a list of the real nasty bas….rds in Silicon Vally. Bill’s passing message to the executive sitting across from him was – would you like your mother to read about this in the paper. I like that approach and if you are going to make hurtful remarks would you like your mother to read about it?
Taking all the glory
Look at any successful Olympian, Let’s look at Lisa Carrington recently she achieved what no other Kiwi has accomplished….When interviewed for her chosen sport (kayaking) at the recent Tokyo Olympics Lisa never once dwelled on (I/Me). She always spoke about her team, the support from those around her, her coach, the plan, those who had encouraged and supported her to achieve…….. The raw humbleness was first class and a huge real life example of leadership 101.
Blaming others for failures
Holding people to account is all part of the job of leading, trust in those around you has to be earnt and developed. To often we hear of leaders who blame others for failures, afraid to hold their hands up and take responsibility. Great leaders don’t blame others they ask – what can I do to help the situation or the person….Don’t go through your leadership career blaming others. Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in (together we are stronger!)
Speaking when angry/frustrated
I encourage clients to have a robust discussion before making any major decisions. We must have robust conversation as leaders – we need to get out all the insights, thoughts and ideas – chuck them onto the table for us to draw conclusions. Anger doesn’t allow creativity, it holds people back. It stops people from contributing and potentially bringing better solutions to the conversation. If we speak when we are angry are we actually coming from a logical place? Take it slowly, take time away, regroup. Emotion is what we want to see in our leaders pure emotion is gold not anger.
Bullying others into ‘making it happen’
Not in our life time, no need for it period!!
Refusing to say sorry or letting go of the past.
Some of the biggest transformation I observer from clients is when they are able to say sorry. Truly great leaders no matter where in the world they operate are able to hold their hands up and say sorry. Just that one word is such a powerful enabler. Mature leaders are able to authentically and genuinely say sorry. Immature leaders will typically avoid the word at all costs!
Holding information back
just because you are holding the Ace of Spades doesn’t make you the winner. Sharing your wisdom, thoughts, suggestions is key to a teams success. To often I witness leaders sitting on information when if shared the results could be outstanding! Consider who should be across your thoughts and therefore how can we all be better.
We can stop bad behaviour. Being a leader isn’t easy and the above are a few specific areas I’d encourage you not to have in your leadership toolkit!
Leadership is a privilege place to be please don’t let bad behaviour be your downfall.
About Nick Roud
Awarded Most Outstanding Executive Coaching Consultancy – New Zealand at the 2021 Global Business Awards
Awarded Best Executive Coaching Consultancy – New Zealand at the 2020 Asia Pacific Business Awards
#3 Master Certified Executive Coach in the world on Intelligent Leadership (IL) Executive Coaching
above all a proud dad to Louie & Willow, husband and partner to Nicola and very comfortable being me xx