The following extract from my book, Brilliant Manoeuvres, is as relevant as ever:

Followers will model their behaviour on their leaders, especially if they, the followers, have little experience of the undertaking. The leader sets the tone for the entire organization by how he or she thinks, acts, speaks, and decides. If the leader is weak and indecisive, the whole organization will often be of the same complexion. If the leader acts ethically and with integrity, then this attitude will tend to permeate the organization. The leader gives a license to his or her followers to think and perform in a certain way; so all actions and words must be assessed for their impact on followers, superiors, peers, and those the organization is meant to serve. In the final analysis, the leader must be worthy of the loyalty, confidence, and respect of followers, because they will mimic the leader’s performance.

  • Have you ever been forced to work for or follow a leader of dubious competencies and integrity? How did you feel? How did your co-workers feel? What mechanisms did followers adopt to compensate for the leader’s weaknesses?
  • Conversely, have you ever had the pleasure to work for a leader who was competent and who provided a superb example of professional excellence and ethical integrity? What was it like? How did you and your co-workers feel and act? What were the mood, morale, and cohesion like?
  • Are you always a good role model and example for your followers and peers? Are you truly worthy of their loyalty, confidence and respect at all times?
  • Skills building techniques:
    • Make a list of all the leadership qualities and practices that you have always admired. Decide to apply these to your own leadership in a conscious and deliberate manner.
    • Make a list of all the poor leadership practices that you’ve always disliked in others. Observe yourself in action and try to avoid these practices in yourself.
    • Look at your speech, decisions, actions, and performance from the perspective of others, especially your followers. What do you think they expect in a leader? What do they need in a leader? Work to balance their expectations and their needs in everything you do and project.
    • Have you ever said one thing but done the opposite? Why did you do so? How could you have avoided it? What will you do to avoid it in the future?

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Ask me about my new Battle Procedure Briefing for business.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

  1. banks.david5line says:

    Richard: Some excellent observations here. Sad that they are so rarely applied and so frequently violated.

    Two anecdotal civil sector examples come to mind:

    -the corporate leadership who shut down a plant, throwing hundreds of people out of work and crippling a community, then hand out performance bonuses or fail to set any example of personal sacrifice; or

    -a police force in which the leadership actually creates the “command climate” in which more junior members then feel safe to indulge in corruption or brutality ( the “bad apple” theory is, in my view and experience a cowardly winge).

    The military is also (sadly) replete with examples of witless, indecisive or unethical conduct. It’s all about people, not slogans or wall posters. If you want your people to be it, then you had best live it. Cheers Dave Banks

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

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