Millions of words have been written and published about what it takes to become a strong leader. We should talk about another aspect of leadership, which is the fact that it’s really hard to be a great leader because the corporate and institutional framework make it much easier to manage badly than to manage well.
Every manager who isn’t the CEO of his or her own company has a higher-level manager to report to. That leader may not be keen on a strong leader’s desire to treat his or her employees like the adults they are. The higher-level leader may only care about production.
It’s hard to be a strong leader because strong leaders have to speak their truth on a frequent basis, and that can be very challenging to do.
We all know that it can be scary to tell the truth. Managers are no different from anybody else. They might hesitate to tell their boss when he or she is wrong, or to stand up for an employee. Yet strong managers do it all the time.
It’s easy to look at a strong manager and say “Yeah, well, it’s easy for him or her to stand up to the executives, because he or she can get another job quickly if they lose this one” but nobody feels that way about their job.
Nobody takes the view “I could get another job in five minutes if I lose this job, so I’m going to tell people the truth and take the consequences!” We all feel fearful at times. We all stammer and stumble over our words when we’re on the spot. It isn’t any easier for managers to find their voices and their backbones than it is for anyone else!
That’s why we must applaud the strong leaders we know for bringing themselves to work so authentically. Here are ten things strong leaders won’t ask their employees to do.
Strong Leaders Won’t Ask Their Employees….
To lie to a customer or vendor
Nearly every working person has run into the situation where an unfortunate employee was forced to fib to or mislead a customer or vendor because their employer didn’t want to share the truth. That’s not fair and it’s not reasonable. Nobody gets paid enough for them to have to tell lies on the job.
To lie to one another
If it’s bad to make employees lie to customers and vendors, it’s ten times worse to force them to lie to one another! Yet this issue crops up in many workplaces, too. Employees might be told “Yes, you need help in your department but the job opening you’ve been waiting to see approved was put on hold because sales were down last quarter” when sales were actually up last quarter. When people don’t want to explain why they’ve made unpopular decisions, often they will just lie about it.
To take the blame when something goes wrong
Strong managers take responsibility for everything that happens in their department. They don’t blame employees when something goes wrong. After all, they’re in charge. The department is their ship! The captain is responsible for everything that happens on the ship. Strong managers would never expect an employee to take the fall when problems occur.
The manager will say “That’s on me — I should have made sure you were trained on that procedure, Stephanie, before I let you close out the month by yourself. Don’t feel bad about it — it’s fine.”
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