Look around at your leadership team; I mean really look at them. You’ll notice that the leaders that you personally hired, promoted, and associate with probably share a lot of similar traits with you; background, leadership style and ability, age, communication style, attitude, and values to name a few. Yes there will be a lot of differences as well, but the closer that you look, the more that you’ll see that the similarities outweigh the differences.
It’s true, and one can make the argument, that a good leader will associate with other leaders that have skillsets that the original leader is lacking, because the true power to lead comes from the ability to be self-aware and understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses. However, the candidates that are brought in to fill those gaps will still have a strong connection with you through their other traits.
Chef Gordon Ramsay, years ago before opening his first restaurant, was voted as one of the worst bosses in the UK because of his strict no apologetic ways; it was literally “his way or the highway”. However, when the restaurant owner “overstepped” his boundaries and fired a member of Chef Ramsay’s staff; Ramsay walked out, and most of the employees followed him. When Gordon Ramsay opened his first restaurant he hired on the employees that walked out with him.
How is this possible when he was voted one of the worst bosses in the UK? Even though Ramsay was strict in his processes, he was also a strong leader that others gravitated towards. His leadership team and employees that he hired all had traits that were similar to his, and when it came to making a hard choice those leadership connections came to light.
At no point should you just suddenly quit and walk out, and hope that everyone follows you. There are better ways to test your leadership effectiveness and the connection of similarity. Start by breaking down barriers by getting away from your computer. Walk the floor, observe your team in action (with and without their knowledge), take individual leaders out for coffee and talk about life outside of work; your goal being why you hired them in the first place. What similarities do they share with you? The only way to see through the differences and focus on the similarities is to actually get to know them on a deeper level; this does not mean becoming friends, you can accomplish this and still keep it on a professional level. This exercise can be eye opening when you start seeing the similarities because the common traits will also be found in you, and so it helps to be honest with yourself first. Who am I? What do others see when they look at me? What am I known for? The answers are out there if you care to look.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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