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Are You Built For Leadership?

Written by: Patricia Bryant, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

There’s so much conversation around leaving a financial legacy – and rightly so. A financial inheritance gives descendants a foundation which to build their life from. But there are other legacies to pass on to sustain a quality of life and for me that’s workplace leadership. A good workforce is needed – everyone can’t be entrepreneurs—so to retain and sustain quality talent, the responsibility is on good leaders and good managers! Good leaders are becoming extinct because the guardrails have been detached that protect that sacred space of workplace dignity (a topic for another time). Rogue managers are allowed to run rampant: violating employee rights; leading with intimidation instead of compassion while Human Resource (HR) turns a blind eye.

Group of businesswomen standing together in office

Here's a phrase that really resonates for this paradigm era we’re in: “It’s time to stop dancing with dysfunction” by Lysa TerKeurst ‒ and it’s so apropos for this topic. Unless the proverbial elephants in the workplace are addressed, effective change can’t happen. Until the workplace begins to intentionally identify what the dysfunctions are and set healthy boundaries to lessen them, employee disengagement will increase with cascading adverse consequences ‒ that are in most cases preventable. To achieve this seemingly unsurmountable mission, managers and leaders have to exhibit courage, conviction, commitment and a sense of compassion.


Compassion Centric Leadership


Every workplace culture at some point hits a low spot and have pain points ‒ it’s inevitable when dealing with human nature. It doesn’t matter how esthetically beautiful the office is or how great the people seem when you’re hired. When the human nature factor is unleashed, conflict occurs and the rose-colored glasses comes off. Nevertheless, great managers and leaders make great companies and Jeff Weiner (former CEO of LinkedIn) states: “The great companies are those that figure out how to go above that wall, around that wall or through that wall to mitigate the low spots. That’s how you build something that lasts; that’s how you build something great over time.” However there has to be a trust factor to hold the spirit of a company together. Data and analysis show: companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186%! (Gallup). “A culture of trust has to be set at the top and the HR department has a key role to play in advising senior leadership to help establish the right tone for the organization.” says Paul Eccher, President & CEO of Vaya.


Compassion-centric leadership is “taking care of those in your charge” (Simon Sinek). Every job worked over one’s work life is training ground for leadership. Each manager style observed helps grow discernment in what to do or what not to do in managing and leading people. The vicissitudes of life (family sacrifices; societal influences; financial hardships, etc.) are all pieces which shape leaders because it teaches compassion – how to put oneself in another person’s shoes when addressing a complaint or a dysfunctional behavior. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand what they’re going through; what they’re experiencing; and, what motivates them is what mindfulness looks like!


Compassion-centric leadership ‒ is an unconditional principle not a regimented exercise of going through the motions without substantive impact or positive changes. It takes courage and conviction to establish practical and “value added” principles into an organization. Setting healthy boundaries and accountability are upshots to overall wellness of employees both physically and mentally. Great leaders (and managers) reduce stress (for all) by taking care of their people and utilizing its people’s talents and strengths to boost a strong team foundation.


Perseverance is Key


Perseverance is a required tool of uncompromising resolve to stay the course. Perseverance grows endurance – the stamina needed to mitigate both people and business responsibilities. Endurance produces character – a reputation of trust. You may be ambitious and eventually achieve the titles strived for, but are you growing leaders with a positive impact or are you leaving collateral damage of souls you stepped on along the way? It takes fortitude to stand with integrity; endure criticism; and, to have the aptitude to turn obstacles into opportunities. To grow in the midst of chaos and confusion; fear and uncertainty or rejection and isolation takes undefeatable resilience. Being ethical and valuing the people around you while balancing the best interests of the company ‒ contributing to profit and revenue growth ‒ is a real balancing act.


All of these characteristics is a portrayal of events synonymous with the “Iceberg Illusion” theory – people only see the outward successes of leaders, not the struggles they survived beneath the surface to become a successful leader. So, are you built for leadership?


Choose Carefully


Let’s face it, everyone isn’t built for leadership. Acquiring the executive position or being a high-performer doesn’t make one a leader. Staying focused on the mission of growing and skilling yourself and not getting caught up in the minutia of office politics takes knowing your value right where you are! (Jeff Clifton, Gallup CEO) “Here’s something they’ll probably never teach you in business school: The single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all of the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.” Busyness of “just getting things done” sometimes overrides clarity in choosing carefully the right person for a leadership position. Yet, it’s the time to distinguish bosses from leaders and choose fittingly.


(Gallup) Research shows that the top 25% of the best managed teams ‒ versus the bottom 25% of worst managed teams in any workplace have:

  • nearly 50% fewer accidents

  • 41% fewer quality defects and

  • incurs far less in healthcare costs


Call to Action


It is my passion to leave a legacy of equipped servant leaders in the workplace to the world! Developing servant leaders (one at a time) who bring dignity and accountability back into the workplace. I knew it to be my purpose when others have their lightbulb moments through my trainings. When their feedback tells me that they have a new perspective on how to approach leadership; and, when the tools given provides the stability to mitigate the pressures of their workload and relationships. Those are the measurable outcomes any leader can celebrate! Understanding what your team needs to be successful while growing future leaders for the workforce is what compassion-centric leadership provides.


SmithBry Institute leadership program can help your organization grow the best managers; set the right tone and reshape your workplace culture.


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Patricia Bryant, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Patricia Smith-Bryant is an author and leadership accountability Coach. From undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech to over 20+ years in Information Technology, Patricia is known to transform workplace culture through leadership. Background Best selling author Leadership and Development Trainer for Fortune 500 company Certified Tech Management Professional.

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