This is an area where mediocre leaders just don’t get it.
And because of their egocentric defensiveness, they lose a ton of credibility.
I’m frequently asked about the simple things… about what leaders and potential leaders can do, short-term, to improve credibility, respect and trust (the currency of leadership). Without writing a treatise here, suffice to say that there are three very simple things that a leader can do to set herself apart (positively) from the pack:
- Ask for input. Even when you already think you know the answer. Many a skeptical manager has been surprised to discover that she really didn’t know everything, and that some of her folks were pretty damned sharp.
- Say please and thank you. Face it — no employee with the brains God gave a rock believes when their boss “asks” them to do something, it’s really a choice… what does it hurt, then, to always — ALWAYS — say “please,’ and “thank you?”
- Admit mistakes. Freely. And don’t water them down with that passive-aggressive crap, like “I probably shouldn’t have done that, but…” or “In hindsight…” Call it like it is — I SCREWED UP! I made a mistake, and I hope to do better. Then LEAVE IT ALONE!
These three things — all by themselves — can help leaders stand out from the mediocre masses. You’d think it was pulling teeth, though, since none are as common as they should be.