Sometimes you just don’t know when your leadership makes a difference for someone. I witnessed one of these situations with a young colleague, who was sharing a story about an interaction on her team.
When I asked her if she realized the impact of her specific action, it was clear she hadn’t thought about it. Although she was genuinely pleased, it almost seemed like the surprise effect of my pointing it out was more thrilling than what she had actually done.
You may not think about it, but your people are watching you. You never know when even the most obscure action or comment forms an impression.
Of course, this happens with both the good and the bad. When you are a leader, whether officially or unofficially, be mindful that people take their lead from how and what you do.
I worked with a senior producer whose bad behavior had a negative and disruptive effect throughout his department. His leaders realized that their inaction had embellished the problem, but they also wanted to salvage his employment.
This employee resisted changing his behavior. He couldn’t care less that his “passion” was negatively received and creating a toxic environment.
Although this person clearly lacked an acceptable level of emotional intelligence, by ignoring his behavior for as long as they did, his leaders were, de facto, approving his demeanor. Unfortunately, the rest of the staff was influenced adversely and resented leadership’s unwillingness to take action.
Your people take their lead from what you do. You can be confident that your positive actions will usually be well received. But ignoring a bad situation can have as great an impact.
Pay attention to the signals you’re sending as the result can result in an attitudinal spiral, one way or the other.
Header image by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels.