In a lift recently, I overheard a leader respond to the “How are you?” question by saying “Oh, not bad. I’m concerned about how we’re travelling. My team seems to be really sluggish.”
The leader was then asked “Sluggish? How come?”
He said, “My team’s just not motivated. They complain about one another. And they’re not putting in the effort that they used to put in six-months ago when I took on the leadership role.”
Because the leader had an obviously gloomy, downhearted beat about him, I began to wonder, is it just co-incidence or did his team’s sluggishness actually arise from his outlook and behaviours. Guess what I concluded .
Your Outlook Has An Immense Impact On Performance
You, as a leader, have more of an impact on your team members’ morale, and therefore performance, than anything else within your four walls. It’s therefore critical that your impact is positive!
Whenever you feel down or dispirited there will be consequences…
If you’re uneasy because business isn’t booming, if you’re feeling perturbed about a peer interaction, or if you’re feeling anxious because your boss has just dragged you over the coals about something, you absolutely can’t afford to let that impact your demeanour.
I can hear some of you saying, “So I have to be a Pollyanna and pretend to be in a good mood all the time, even when I’m not?”
Nope, that’s definitely not what I’m saying. Read on…
You Have A Choice About How You Interpret Things
Authenticity is absolutely essential. Not being genuine about your emotional state is worse than being down and dark. But here’s the really important bit:
It’s crucial that you remember that… “Things don’t have meanings in themselves. We give things meaning!”
For example, if your boss has just dragged you over the coals about something you did, you could make it mean that you’re doomed in his mind forever now, and that you’re not OK.
Or you could make it mean that he thinks enough of you to be candid with you about his reaction to what you did, and that you’ve learnt from the mistake and are now ripe for bigger challenges.
The first interpretation of this circumstance won’t serve you. The second interpretation of the very same circumstance will serve you.
And you’re completely in control of which interpretation you select.
Constructive Thoughts Or Fatalistic Ruminations—It’s Your Call
- You can decide to be constructive—or fatalistic.
- You can decide to be resilient—or delicate.
- You can decide to be calm—or nervous.
- You can decide to be courageous—or fearful.
- You can decide to be enthusiastic—or switched off.
- You can decide to be optimistic—or pessimistic.
- You can decide to be solution focused—or problem oriented.
Consider which of these psychological states:
- People want to be around?
- Generates respect from others?
- Gives you the energy to produce good outcomes?
- Has the best impact on your team members?
Constructive thoughts not only feel a lot better than fatalistic ruminations, they look a lot different from the outside too.
Your Leadership Call To Action
You’ve heard it said, “When a leader sneezes their team members catch a cold”?
As a leader, just as you manage your KPIs, it’s your responsibility to manage your demeanour. It’ll pretty much determine your team’s demeanour.
And yes, I know habits don’t change overnight
- What would it take for you to choose, for example, thinking constructively over ruminating fatalistically?
- Are you up for modelling the demeanour that will have your team feeling motivated, optimistic and enthusiastic?
When you have a thoroughly constructive impact on your team, team morale and discretionary effort will be favourably impacted! Are you up for it?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.