Are Leaders Expected to Be Perfect?

Just about any parent will tell you that kids are horrible listeners. They are, however, keen observers of human (their parents’) behavior and tend to imitate what they see. After all, whatever Mom or Dad does must be the right thing to do. It’s the reason people comment that little Becky is just Iike her mother. It’s explains the phrase, “like father like son.” If Dad uses a lot of profanity, so will the kids, regardless of those lame comebacks parents typically use such as “do as I say – not as I do.” Or, if Mom smokes, she is indirectly telling her children that smoking is a perfectly acceptable thing to do in spite of her lectures that smoking is very bad.

leadership style management pressure at workSo want does this have to do with leadership? Everything. Leaders, that is, anyone holding a management of supervisory position, are watched and scrutinized with very discerning eyes by everyone, including employees as well as other managers and colleagues. As a leader, you will unwittingly create your own culture by what you do and don’t do, how you make decisions, and especially how you act under pressure. You will also be judged on your leadership style in how you interact with your colleagues and employees.

As the leader, if you are careless and do mediocre work, or if you don’t respect and follow company protocol, you can’t reasonably expect your employees to follow procedure, double-check their work and strive for perfection. If you talk disrespectfully about difficult customers or other employees, expect some of your direct reports to follow suit and be just as disrespectful in an attempt to get on your good side. (Remember, you can judge the character of someone by how they speak of others.)

I nor would anyone ever suggest that leaders should be 100 percent perfect and free from the freedoms of making legitimate mistakes. We’re all human, and mistakes are necessary for personal and professional growth. However, leaders are expected to consistently set examples of practicing a strong work ethic along with other noble traits such as honesty, integrity, admitting mistakes, practicing good listening skills, empathy, and remaining composed under pressure. In fact, in one of my previous blogs, I stressed that one of the most courageous things a leader can do is admit to their mistakes or lapses in good judgment.

Someone will always be looking to you as an example of how to act, and they are counting on you not to let them down. Being a leader is one of the most difficult jobs there is because not only must you perform your job to the best of your ability every day in every way, there are also people counting on you for direction, good decisions and as a means to get their needs met. Leadership training course not only teach leaders the skills to lead, they also teach leaders how to lead with character and integrity even in the worst of conditions. And once those skills are mastered, you may become one of those leaders people refer to as “the perfect boss.”

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