Leadership or a boss’s impact — it can be positive (the energetic, charismatic leader who inspires and engages) or negative (someone who walks into a room, lights a fuse with words or behaviors and is often oblivious to the chaos he/she has created). An important part of self-awareness (and emotional intelligence) is understanding how your words and behaviors affect those around you.
Some areas to think about:
- Sole attention to business task at the expense of workplace relationships. Research indicates high-performing teams spend as much time on relationship building (how to work together collaboratively/creatively) as they do on task functions. Accomplishing tasks at the expense of people’s feelings (barking orders or being condescending) is a costly and ineffective way to lead.
- A high need to control. Although we are hardwired as human beings with a need to control, there needs to be a balance. Individuals with significant control issues often react “big” when someone challenges their authority or position.
- Ongoing interpersonal ignorance. Being repeatedly blindsided by intense reactions of co-workers to your actions or words should be a warning sign. If not addressed, others may interpret it as insensitivity, arrogance or indifference on your part (all of which can come back to haunt you). Being perceived as “aloof” or uncaring is another danger zone.
- Telling yourself the ends justify the means (Type A’s, beware). Are you a boss who drives the bottom line without concern about morale? It’s a slippery slope when your command-and-control drive for results leaves bodies in your wake. Passionate drivers of workplace change can be positive influences if they present their messages in a way that inspires and persuades versus flattens and demotivates. It’s all about the delivery and your sensitivity toward others.
- Being overly critical or negative. Constantly looking for what’s wrong brings every one else down (and the bottom line). Leaders get more out of their people with a focus on strengths, positive solutions and an inspiring vision.
- A “shoot the messenger” mentality. The impact of leaders who react in anger or retribution will likely result in employees who fear the wrath, withdraw and may withhold important information.
- Overreacting. It’s easy to overreact when coming from a place of fear or anger. If you have an anger-management issue or experience continual anxiety, get help.
We all have hooks and triggers that can result in an impulsive or emotional reaction. The most common:
- A challenge to your authority (hot button for people with control issues).
- Threats to you, your job, your compensation or going “above your head” to senior management are sure bets for generating “big” reactions.
- Integrity issues. People understandably get reactive when their core values are violated or challenged.
- Criticism. Condemnation, judgments or blaming are a surefire way to generate defensiveness.
The good news is there is help. The first step is to get clear about what pushes your emotional buttons so you can make a different behavioral choice.
A common tool in today’s workplace is a 360-degree feedback survey (typically completed by workplace peers) to find out how others perceive you. I offer this to my clients. Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and coaching abilities. I coach leaders all over the world via Skype. Call me: 360 682 5807 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New self-awareness allows us to make different choices. Understanding our impact allows us to make informed and intentional behavior choices.Not understanding the impact of our words and actions can be detrimental to career success and, ultimately, organizational performance.