When standards in an organization change, the process tends to be so gradual that it’s not readily noticeable. One day you look around and realize that things that used to be unacceptable are now commonplace. Whether it’s a lax attitude toward work and deadlines, gossip and backbiting, or dishonesty, it’s easy for negative behavior to take hold.
When norms change, people tend to ask “How did that happen?” I’m here to tell you: it starts at the top. Leadership is contagious, whether leaders know it or not. If a leader’s standards slip, the standards of the organization follow. If leadership’s values are compromised, the values of the business won’t be far behind. It’s imperative to keep close tabs on your own leadership, because others are certain to follow your lead, one by one, until your entire team is affected.
Here are some of the ways leaders can ensure that their contagious leadership is spreading only good qualities:
Be consistent and predictable. If you want to be trusted, respected and credible, people have to know that they can count on your conduct to always be consistent.
Remain true to your values. Let others know who you are and what you stand for, and lead through your example of living out your values every day. Give people reason to feel good about emulating you.
Evaluate your communications. Leaders communicate a lot, and people are quick to judge those communications as well as the cues they get from body language and nonverbal communication. Think about what you’re saying and—even more important—how you’re saying it.
Show people what’s most important to you. The quickest way to learn what’s important to someone is to see what they give their time to. Ask yourself if you’re spending your time in ways that reflect your values or if you’re sending mixed messages.
Take command of your emotions. If you’re quick to lose your temper, if you yell when things go wrong, if you lose patience easily, you’re sending a message to others that it’s OK—and maybe even expected—to do the same. Don’t let your own behavior validate screaming, tantrums, or abuse. Remember, your emotions have the power to make people comfortable or uncomfortable—which do you want it to be?
Embody positivity. A positive leader means a positive team and positive organization; a negative leader is working to build a team and culture based on negativity.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat people with respect and dignity and they will treat you—and their coworkers—the same.
When you’re a leader, your actions are constantly being watched by others. Ask yourself if you want those you lead to emulate what you do and how you do it. If not, be thoughtful of how you lead and commit to setting a good example.
Lead from within: If you know your leadership is contagious, you’re more likely to exhibit behavior worth catching.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.