No-Drama Leadership – Excerpt

The power is shifting. The speed at which change can happen is astounding. People at the bottom have more choices, and they are waking up to the power their choices provide. When people believe in a purpose, they will sacrifice everything to stand up for what they believe in.

With the click of a mouse, your employees can tarnish your employer brand with a digital footprint that lasts a lifetime. Your employee’s inappropriate behavior posted on a social media outlet can go viral, causing not only embarrassment but a potential lawsuit.

A prerequisite to making enlightened choices is to declare your values. Until you declare your values, there is an accountability gap and no real alignment.

Although there are as many definitions for leadership as there are companies that have leaders, at the core, leadership is about alignment. Leaders leave companies when their personal values clash with the corporate values.

Most executives seem unaware of the degree to which their supervisors’ and managers’ poor leadership skills are affecting employee absenteeism and turnover. For every complaint to human resources about bad boss behavior, there are another dozen instances not being reported.

The conversations avoided today become the lawsuit the company fights a decade later. Every single day supervisors and managers complain about employee behavior and their lack of accountability, but in the end the real problem is the leader’s lack of responsibility, the evidence of which is the avoidance of initiating difficult conversations.

When accountability is used to force responsibility, people will purposely skew the numbers, hide information and avoid seeking the truth. Start talking about accountability, and you will notice how people tense up. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Leaders who want to promote a culture of accountability have to first take responsibility for creating that kind of culture rather than blaming the employees. A blaming mindset from the leader cannot produce an accountable culture of employees.

Categorizing communication as a soft skill reduces the likelihood that training for the skill makes it in the budget. However, when we awaken to the fact that all areas of business, including sales, change management, negotiations and relationship building, require communication mastery, the priority changes from small to significant.

Unwanted change offers a unique opportunity born out of a dark night of the soul. When life looks bleak, and you feel backed up against a wall with no choices, the darkest night of desperation always precedes the dawn of transformation.

The less comfortable a leader is with dealing with his or her fears, the more likely the leader will avoid both accountability and course-correction.

No matter how much planning you do and how much cooperation you get the weather, and other unforeseen incidents that we refer to as an act of God can and will change your plans and results. These acts of God are what I refer to in the Change chapter as Quadrant 4: change that was unexpected and unwanted.

When employees hear mixed messages about “safety first” immediately following, “There are consequences to pay if you don’t meet productivity goals,” the peer pressure will create a culture of high risk in order to make the numbers. If it is not emotionally safe to adhere to safety rules, employees will risk their own physical safety.

Culture clash is the main reason for unnecessary drama in mergers, acquisitions, or consolidations. What leaders often forget is that what looks good on paper often does not work out the same way in reality.

Employees can be difficult, no doubt. But, when the fingers start pointing, it’s always an indicator that it’s also time to look at the environment and the leadership.

Engagement is not a checklist. Employees engage in what is valuable to them. When their workplace provides opportunities to meet other needs, employees naturally gravitate to the opportunities and get involved. If the company sees the employee as a cog in a wheel, the employee sees the company as a paycheck.

When supervisors and managers complain, fail to ask for what they want, and exhibit negativity, this tells me these leaders are unaware of their own expression of powerlessness.