Leadership is hard. One of the things that makes it hard is there are No Bad Days Allowed.
The leader has to show up ready to lead no matter what. Flat tires aren’t an excuse. Lack of sleep is not an excuse. PMS or menopause are not excuses. Thirty over par on Saturday is not an excuse. The Titans losing on Sunday is not an excuse. And yeah, I really do mean every day—on top of your game—ready to lead in a positive way.
Consistency is an important attribute for effective leaders. Your followers need to know what to expect when you show up. If they don’t—if it is everything is great on Tuesday, but stay away on Thursday—fear and reluctance will become pervasive in the organization. Followers will spend too much time deciding if it is okay to approach you and the information you need today may not make it to your office because they are waiting for the safe time. The safe time may be too late.
So, this means that leaders have to do something that is really hard to do, leave emotions in the car—especially anger, impatience, frustration, inattention, etc. Hard to do? Yes. Impossible? No. If you need to rant and rave and throw up, do it before you show up at the office.
Remember, there are no bad days allowed for leaders. What’s at stake? Not much—just your credibility and effectiveness as a leader.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
Spot on Dick, Leaders must always remeber that leadership is a priveledge, not an entitlement.
I would like your opinion on what to do when you have had a bad day, or even a bad moment here and there along the way, or the occassional snappy interchange and that person then has a mindset from then on out that you are “x” way, rather than the way you are 99% of the time.
Scott, it is impossible to “not have” a bad day or a bad moment. So, the issue is what we do to make sure it doesn’t damage our ability to lead by creating fear. Two suggestions: (1), have someone that can be your punching bag and/or you can throw up on when you need to let go. Ideally, this would be someone that doesn’t work for you, but if you have a really mature associate, he/she could be the one (like the designated driver concept). This will only work if you are intentional about getting over it before your daily interactions in the office; (2), when you do screw up, a honest and sincere apology will go a long way toward minimizing the damage. Honest and sincere is the key. Apologizing because you are supposed to is phony and won’t help. Finally, if your normal and long-term leadership is as a shepherd/encourager/etc., your associates will forgive the very seldom lapses as long as they are really very seldom. You don’t have to be perfect in this regard–just close.