The greatest leaders in history understand that their words, actions, promises, and relationships have an impact on those they lead. They use that influence to “rally the troops” to a particular cause and urge them onward in spite of the challenges they will face. Yet few managers truly understand what their leadership impact is, much less why they should care about how it influences those they lead.
1. People won’t follow someone they don’t respect.
It is possible for a manager to be obeyed without being truly followed. Someone may follow directions, complete tasks and work to achieve goals on behalf of a manager simply because the manager has influence over their pay, bonuses and promotions. Yet, when it comes time for the manager to lead out, if they are not respected by those they lead, they may find they are alone on a limb. Creating an environment of mutual respect allows managers to cultivate feelings of loyalty in those they lead that will ultimately serve them well.
2. A negative ‘leadership impact’ could be costing you your next promotion.
Your leadership reputation may be in the hands of the rumor mill. Like it or not, people within an organisation talk across teams and across departments to label certain leaders as “exceptional” or “difficult” or “inept”. A poor leadership impact on those you lead can lead to a poor leadership reputation within your organisation. It may be the reason your boss will not give you more responsibility, a larger project or a bigger team to manage. After all, who would give a poor leader more people to lead?
3. Your leadership impact may be causing your peers to ‘avoid’ you.
Who we are associated can either be a powerful deterrent or an instant verification. Consider the power of celebrity endorsement. Companies spend millions of dollars to have their product associated with a celebrity they feel fits their brand image. Should that person’s public conduct run contrary to the association the brand is trying to create, the company will instantly distance themselves from the endorser. The same can be said for those in leadership positions. People are willing to associate their name or their performance with someone they trust will not sully the image they are trying to create. Conversely, they are likely to distance themselves from someone whose leadership style is seen as alienating, dishonest or disloyal.
Ask yourself, “Do my peers support my ideas, projects and teams when the going gets tough?”
If your answer is no, your leadership impact may have a negative impact.
4. All your amazing achievements and hard work could get drowned out by a negative leadership impact.
Even the most successful business achievements can be overshadowed by poor leadership behaviors. This is especially apparent in politics. Think of how many great legislative initiatives are overshadowed by the egos of the politicians creating them? All the public will remember is the immature leadership behavior and partisan bickering the politician is known for rather than the outcome they are trying to achieve. The same thing goes for your achievements at work. Your leadership personality can overshadow any and all accomplishments without carefully managing its impact on those you lead.
Shanelle Moloney is the Managing Director of Moloney Consulting. Shanelle has over 20 years’ HR experience, 15 of which have been serving on senior leadership teams in Australian and Asia Pacific businesses across a range of industries. Shanelle is passionate about the recognition of leadership as a learned skill that requires the right resource investment, and has spent much of her career specialising in this area. Connect with me on LinkedIn.