“But bosses can pretty much do what they want, that’s what’s so sad”

“But bosses can pretty much do what they want, that’s what’s so sad”

These exact words came from a woman pacing up and down a deserted aisle in the supermarket one evening.  She was on her mobile talking to what seemed to be a colleague, based on the contents of their conversation.  I didn’t want to eavesdrop but those words spoke volumes about her state of mind and were hard not to hear.

There was a hopelessness about her comment and her body language that really made me wonder what had happened, specifically.  I couldn’t very well hang around to listen, but I would have loved to hear more.

As I left the store, I reflected on the power and influence of a leader – for better, for worse.

A leader’s job is largely to operate in such a way that his or her employees can better do their jobs, and when a leader does that effectively, he/she includes and involves the people in question rather than just “doing things his/her own way”.

I don’t know what happened to the woman in the supermarket, and her boss, but I know that leaders that want to get results should pay heed to the impact they are having on people around them and include people all along the way.  Otherwise they may end up with so much resistance that good results become impossible, and everyone loses out.

Leadership stripped bare is quite simple:

  • Share a vision, give direction (so people understand WHY)
  • Involve people in the HOW
  • See people (everyone wants to be seen and heard), see and understand the individual
  • Make use of each person’s unique strengths and possible contributions
  • Foster open communication (Never shoot the messenger – if things are going on, you are better off knowing about it!)
  • Let go of the need to be right (no-one has all the answers), keep an open mind and encourage others to do the same
  • Follow up and give feedback
  • And be genuine (find your own leadership style that suits you) while showing respect.

Here’s to all the leaders out there – it’s not always easy but it can be simple and effective if we consider our impact on others!

Thanks for reading

Elisabet and Mandy