Whenever you bring a group of people together, a natural leader emerges. You’ve seen it played out on shows, such as “Survivor.” One player steps up and takes control of the game, becoming a de facto leader. In business it’s different. One might assume that the leader of an organization is the entrepreneur with the courage and resources to start the business and turn a vision into reality. Is this entrepreneur a natural leader? Only time will tell. An employee may stand out from the pack and change the course of the business. Is this person a natural leader? Again, only time will tell.
Leaders get “things” across the finish line. They know how to define and communicate the destination. They rally their teams for the cause. They challenge and inspire people to stretch to be the best. Their integrity and accountability create and maintain trust. Great leaders come in all sorts of packages from gregarious and demanding to reserved and nurturing. But the common denominator is their ability to make decisions and get things done.
When a leader constantly walks on eggshells - afraid of making unpopular or tough decisions - things get complicated. The business slows down. Uncertainty, drama and speculation permeate the work environment. The wrong behaviors go unchecked until they become the norm. Drama and funk occur waiting for the leader to step off the eggshells, assume control and point the company in the right direction. Eggshell leaders are rarely natural leaders. Most, however, have enough leadership qualities to be an effective leader - if they can avoid the “walking on eggshells” syndrome.
If you or any of your leaders are walking on eggshells, here are some no-compromise must-do’s to stay in leadership mode:
- Learn to identify the first “crunch”: The moment you hear the first crunch of eggshells, it signals that you are allowing your personal emotions, insecurities and fears to take you out of leadership mode. Leading is not about you - it’s about doing what’s best for the company and your employees. Keep off the eggshells.
- You can’t please everyone: This is perhaps the most common trap. Decisions need to be made. Change must occur. And, as sure as the sun rises every day, there will be one or more team members who balk at or resist your decision. Just remember, change resisters are typically few in number. Most will support and even welcome the change - as long as they understand why and what the possible outcomes will look like. If you cave into the few, you will be compromising the many. Keep off the eggshells.
- Never compromise the company’s vision: It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of the company, its designated president or the head of a workgroup, you are the leader who is responsible for ensuring the health, vitality, stability and growth of the company. Even if it means the painful decision to shrink the company so it can grow bigger and better, you’re the keeper of the company’s vision. Keep off the eggshells.
- Grow into your role as leader: Every company is unique. Each has its challenges and internal drama. No matter what your previous leadership experience is, you will still have a lot to learn. You will still have insecurities to overcome. You will still need to find the courage to make decisions that will impact the lives and livelihoods of others. And you will gain the wisdom of a leader. You will grow into your role. Keep off the eggshells.
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Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO
About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at [email protected].