Leadership Currency CrisisOct 07, 2021
Trust and credibility are the currency in leadership and leaders. What ‘money’ do you have in your leadership bank?
We are in crisis and it isn’t the COVID-19 pandemic that I am speaking about. Instead, it is a potentially catastrophic issue in leadership that I am writing about in hopes of drawing awareness to course correct while we still can. Because I do believe that it is a widespread problem and will have a huge impact on all workplaces for years to come.
I am speaking about a growing concern in the landscape of leadership where many leaders at various levels in organizations have essentially bankrupted their leadership currency within the organization.
This crisis in leadership has manifested itself through a lack of both awareness and intentional people-centric leadership. It has taken root in the perpetuation of the hustle with the focus on productivity and performance. And it has spread with every ask for more, each business style interaction, and every decision that has been made which doesn’t align with a people-first philosophy.
COVID-19 has been a catalyst in many ways to this problem, but it is not the root cause. In an environment where the development of burnout, mental health challenges, and disengagement plagues our workforce it is the leaders who are held responsible for its creation and ultimately for charting a new course forward.
Amidst all this chaos people have been struggling. In a constant state of flux and fear. The human response to such stressors varies but typically involves some form of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. Everything seems to take more energy than it should, and our stores can easily become depleted from time to time. It makes it difficult to show up as your best self consistently and requires more focus on self-care than ever before. The goal of course is to balance your energy exchange as best you can during difficult times.
Relationships are much the same in the importance of finding a balance. With relationships, we hope for a balance in giving and take along with a return on investment. This requires people to be aware of what they are investing in their relationships, but also what they are withdrawing. I fear that many leaders don’t even realize that they have used up their entire overdraft and are now circling complete bankruptcy in many of their relationships.
Depending on the style of leadership and how that resonates with each employee, will impact the overall currency in the account. Leaders can add to the account through their actions that support and serve their employees. They can invest in what has already be deposited through gratitude, appreciation, and caring. And they withdraw from this account with every action or decision which is focused on higher expectations and productivity. There are additional service charges for those actions and decisions which are not aligned with the words or promises made for being a servant leader.
This is leading to bankruptcy in relationships and a shift in workplace culture. The balance internally with energy and emotion along with the additional external draw from the workplace is creating a severe deficit.
People will be watching their leaders now more than ever to see how they react, respond, and recover. They will also be noting the status of the currency in the relationship. In some circumstances, employees may succumb to the stressors or they will seek to set boundaries and look for ways to improve their lives overall. Both outcomes may have the employees leaving the workplace either temporarily or permanently.
Leaders must increase their awareness and shift towards a serve-first mindset. They need to focus on empowering and uplifting those who work for them. The priority is to serve their people. Give them the information, tools, ongoing training, and support. Invest in their health and well-being. Being present and showing up consistently as a heart-centered leader will help to restore people.
It is time for leaders to reflect and evaluate the status of their own energy stores and capacity. To take the action needed to ensure they have the capacity to show up and serve effectively. Then they must take further stock of the culture within their teams and the individual relationship accounts of their employees. Understanding the impact of how we lead on the people we lead is critical. Finding the right ways to invest in and serve your people will support success and lead to abundance.
It all starts with you leading with heart and connecting meaningfully with your colleagues every day. The return on your investment will be worth it.
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