General George S. Patton said, “Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves". Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals”. During one of the worst periods in the history of our world, with chaos and carnage on virtually every continent, do you believe for an instant that Gen. Patton ever though he would not be successful? Absolutely not.
Leaders know that being united in battle, or the boardroom, is essential to managing a battalion or an organization. The men and women in our armed forces share a common mission and are united in a shared set of values. They fight to protect the people beside them. If unity is not paramount, they cannot accomplish their mission. Whether it’s “leave no man behind”, “This We'll Defend” or "Called to Duty, Boots on the Ground", members of our military are united by closely held beliefs.
There are but two letters switched between united and untied; however, which one describes you and your organization has an overwhelming impact that cannot be ignored.
During my career, I created environments in which everyone was on the same side, shared a set of values and knew our mission, goals, rewards and the consequences of their decisions and actions. In all matters with my staff and board of directors, I was transparent. Intuitively, I believed that being united was vital to achieving success and the goals of the organizations I managed.
Leaders in all endeavors should pause and consider whether they don’t care about being right or they just don’t want to be wrong. Are the consequences more compelling and motivating than the rewards? “Right action exists when the right people are doing the right things in the right way at the right time for the right reasons to achieve the right action.” – Resource Associates Corporation.
Like Gen. Patton experienced, there are detractors who say I was difficult at times, but they’re also leaving out that they were an ass. Being united creates harmony and calm, and not everyone welcomes and applauds that.
You know who those people are inside your organization. Others might be outside your organization but have great influence on the inside — for example, a bank examiner who creates an untied environment because they are not accountable to anyone. A united staff and organization are efficient, confident and productive. Empowered to make decisions, they require less supervision.
Those untied personalities who crave the opposite are control freaks and thus are second-rate leaders, at best. They actually believe or have been taught by their leaders, that keeping teams untied and in a constant state of stress is necessary for control.
I know the CEO of a large organization in SW Florida whose management style is to keep his employees on edge about who will be fired next. The VP of Human Resources at this organization repeatedly told employees this fact and that her job was secure because she did his dirty work. She was fired not long after. Having a conscious plan or style that unties your staff, keeping them on edge waiting for the next shoe to drop, does not improve your productivity, efficiency or revenue. In fact, dividing and conquering induces unnecessary stress into the workplace and frankly is just ruthless and stupid.
Leadership skills and knowledge of the job are not always considered or evaluated. Leadership of others begins with leadership of self. You cannot truly become an effective leader of an organization until you identify leadership on a personal level.
Trust may be gained, lost, abused, or reestablished. It is a core leadership quality and the loss of trust is a conflict trigger that leads to other challenges and a manifestation of negative conflict.
Great leaders must be trusted. Great and effective leaders create a positive and productive atmosphere. Great leaders show understanding and handle conflict.
Being perceived as professionally disagreeable doesn’t mean you’re a mediocre leader. It isn’t a requirement that a leader be liked; however, her/she needs the respect and trust of their followers. That is best done by striving to unite the team in a common vision and mission.