Leaders to Leader

Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

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Happy or Grumpy: Your Mood Impacts Your Organization’s Performance

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Numerous studies have shown that when leaders are in a happy mood, the individuals around them tend to view everything in a much more positive light. The resulting atmosphere provides for an optimistic workplace, which in turn facilitates higher overall productivity, more creative reasoning and more efficient decision-making. The converse is often true when a leader’s negative moods prevail: they have detrimental effects for the leader, his or her employees and the organization’s performance.

In 2000, Caroline Bartel of New York University and Richard Saavedra of the University of Michigan studied 70 workgroups across diverse industries. Their research found that people who gather within normal meeting settings end up sharing their good or bad moods within two hours. Other research has corroborated the fact that people who work together share their moods.

It is significant for leaders to understand that within most organizations, moods that originate at the top have a tendency to spread quickly throughout the workplace. The reason for this diffusion is that nearly everyone in the company observes these moods and is thus directly influenced by them. Leader’s that are not cognizant of this process fail to understand the personal impact they, and their moods, have on organizational performance.

A large body of research indicates that a majority of leaders are unaware that their emotional intelligence levels, their moods and their behaviors have a definite impact on employees and the organization. Leaders can remain clueless as to how these factors have the power to resonate throughout an organization.

In many instances the repercussions of unwatched and uncontrolled negative behaviors are immediate. Employees can be reluctant to communicate accurate and realistic data and information for fear of the leader’s emotional reaction and potential rage.

The consequences of negative emotional reactions are damaging to the point that the leader becomes emotionally disconnected from the organization; as a result, he or she will not have a realistic sense of what is occurring in the workplace. These circumstances are especially troubling when employees actively work to hide failures, mistakes and potentially troubling trends.

While an emotionally disconnected leader can often sense something is amiss in the workplace, the exact cause remains elusive and their personal effectiveness is thus undermined. The perceived uncertainty of the situation also forces leaders to second-guess their employees. Other serious organizational problems can be caused by the following reasons:

Lack of Awareness

When leaders demonstrate a lack of personal awareness, they cannot objectively gauge their own personal moods let alone the impact those moods have on the organization. In some instances, a lack of awareness is the result of the leader’s ignorance, but more often it is a reflection of older leadership styles being used.

Many leaders who fall victim to a lack of awareness feel their personal moods are nobody’s business. Because these leaders do not see the need to force themselves to accommodate their employees, it becomes their employees’ responsibility to deal with the moods. Whatever the cause and reason, a lack of personal awareness undermines not only the leader’s effectiveness, but also the bottom-line performance of their organization.

Lack of Self-Management

When leaders possess a lack of self-management skills, it can be toxic to an organization. Mood swings, highly emotional responses, rages and outbursts have a dramatic and negative impact on all employees. In all these instances, leaders allow their emotions to control them. These uncontrolled emotions serve to undermine employee motivation and morale, which produces immediate and negative consequences on organizational productivity.

When leaders allow themselves to be emotionally unstable, their organization will experience higher rates of absenteeism and employee turnover due to increased stress levels. This tangible impact on an organization can be directly analyzed, quantified and demonstrated.

Lack of Social Awareness

Leaders clearly lack social awareness when they fail to empathize with employees and other individuals. Those who lack social awareness are either unaware a problem in this area exists or they don’t care about the impact their words and actions have on employees and the organization. Leaders who only focus on results while neglecting personal contributions, actively demonstrate this social deficiency.

Such leaders are unconcerned about motivation, morale or personal issues. Consequently, they will often find themselves surrounded by incompetent or fearful employees. The competent individuals or those with better employment options will quickly leave. The subsequent impact on the company’s productivity and profitability will be serious and obvious.

Poor Relationship Management

Leaders who possess poor relationship management skills are unable to communicate effectively, which results in misunderstandings, confusion and conflict. Employees in this situation can feel leaderless and uncommitted, as their work is often criticized and second-guessed by the leader. The leader’s poor relationships with employees subsequently lower morale and motivation. Employees don’t know where they stand with these leaders. And this feeling often results in high employee turnover and lower productivity.

While possible, it is uncommon for leaders to exhibit symptoms in only one of the above areas: usually they are deficient in multiple emotional intelligence categories. When these factors are combined, their impacts are intensified; a toxic organizational atmosphere is thus created that is saturated with problems and conflicts.

Often these leaders cause extreme chaos and havoc within the entire organization. Not only does this diminish their standing and effectiveness as a leader, but also it can completely undermine and destroy an organization’s effectiveness. Turmoil and damage will remain until a more hopeful and realistic leader replaces the dissonant one. And this change generally becomes the only viable alternative to relieve chaos and repair the organization.

Excerpt: Leadership Styles: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD


Three Reasons Why Leaders Fail

How Well Do You Set the Tone?

Communication Starts With Respecting What Others Have To Say

Unresolved Conflict is Corrosive to Leadership

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Dealing with the Challenges of Leadership: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Becoming a Leader of Your Own Making: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Improving Communication in the Workplace: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Improving Workplace Interaction: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Strengthening Leadership Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Personal Credibility is Anchored in Character and Integrity

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William Hewlett and David Packard - Founders of Hewlett-Packard

William Hewlett and David Packard – Founders of Hewlett-Packard

Personal credibility is based upon a leader’s character and integrity and the actions and behaviors that stem from them. Far from perfect, many of the influential American leaders I surveyed possessed character flaws and displayed at times, questionable ethical behaviors. Yet their personal credibility remained intact.

So it is safe to ascertain that perfection is not humanly expected and attainable as a leader, but self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses is essential. It reflects both maturity and authenticity, which only then serves to enhance a leader’s personal credibility.

An observance of the absence of self-awareness resulted in a strong emergence of arrogance and hubris that diminished and ultimately destroyed credibility on all levels.

Obviously unless problematic or weak leaders make concerted efforts to change their character and integrity, they are remain unalterable. However leaders do have control over the actions, behaviors and decisions that influence and shape their personal credibility.

This once again involves self-awareness as well as comprehensive critical thinking abilities to examine the consequences of both their long and short-term actions. All leaders have choices, but the right choices demand a leader’s willingness and acquiescence.

Leaders must also be cognizant of their levels of personal credibility on all of their key constituencies. In the current environment where short-term profitability is emphasized, many leaders damage their credibility by only focusing on their shareholder expectations at the expense of their other constituencies.

My research demonstrates this can be fatal. The leaders listed Worst CEOs of All Time by Portfolio Magazine commonly practiced it. As evidenced within the Legitimacy Principles, this imbalance ultimately leads to a loss of validity.

The Legitimacy Principles enumerate the linkages of leaders’ legitimacy, credibility, trust and a balance of emotional standing and bonds with all key constituencies. The synergetic relationship between these key factors of success is the foundation of effective leadership and provides insight into a new definition of it.

The fundamental essence of leadership is legitimacy, whose substance is based upon authority and validity. While authority is conferred, validity is earned through the development of credibility, trust and a balance of emotional standing and connections with all key constituencies.

The presence of the Legitimacy Principles endow leaders with the authority to lead, manage, execute, empower, effectively communicate, sell their vision, generate a passion for success, and overcome adversity. Their absence results in ultimate failure as an effective leader.

What can we learn from these leader’s examples and apply to our lives? In summary, the following recommendations are suggested:

  1. Develop an awareness of your personal strengths and weaknesses including a frank assessment of your character and personal levels of integrity.
  2. Determine how these affect your personal credibility.
  3. Identify what actions, decisions and behaviors you can change.
  4. Develop a habit of assessing the impact and consequences of your actions on your personal credibility.
  5. Change what you can, and manage and control what you can’t.
  6. Remember this is an evolutionary process and not a singular event. History shows that individuals evolved into becoming great leaders over the span of their entire careers. For many it was a struggle.

It is important to remember that no leader is an island onto oneself, who functions in isolation. Nor is the individual the first one to encounter problems associated with building his or her credibility. Universally, the leaders surveyed all struggled with this issue at one point or another in their careers.


Legitimacy: The Sole Basis of Leadership

An Accurate Predictor of Leadership Performance

Five Ways to Establish Trust and Credibility

Eight Actions Determine If You Can Be Trusted

Adapted From: Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) Read a Free Chapter

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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