Bad leadership can bring even the mightiest organisation to its knees. A company can go from successful and thriving to floundering and failing virtually overnight if people without the right leadership attributes assume the helm. Leaders must realise that love and trust are an integral part in the formula of success.
Making an impact to support those in need
During our annual i4 Live Retreat in Cambodia last year, I decided to film the inspiring story of Troy Roberts, Founder & CEO of non-for-profit organisation RAW Impact. We discussed the very real implications of poor leadership on an organisation, and what leaders can do to ensure that their business (or country) doesn’t head down the wrong path.
The effects of inadequate leadership are easy to see in our digital age. While it’s discouraging to see these effects and the impacts on human lives, we are fortunate in that we get this information in near instant time. The closed doors of the past are gone, and it’s time to expose some of the unhelpful leadership traits in those who occupy positions of power for what they are—manipulative, greedy, and uncaring about their fellow humans.
“You lose momentum with bad leadership. It can destroy the good and ripple through an organisation.”
Countries such as Cambodia, where Troy is working, have seen more than their fair share of political turmoil and strife. What can we learn from these situations? Looking at the world as a whole, because it is indeed just ONE world, we can see other examples of political leaders that should not be in charge. How can we step up and make changes?
Changing the dialogue from one of power to one of love and trust
Not all organisations (or countries) have terrible leadership. There are many examples of generous and passionate businesses all over the world. Look at major corporations such as CVS, a pharmacy in the US. CVS decided to stop selling cigarettes in their stores, even if it meant a loss in sales. This company decided that the health of its customers was ultimately more important than the bottom line.
Many people are familiar with Tom’s Shoes, a company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need when you purchase a pair. And there are even small businesses on Etsy (a global marketplace for creative and homemade goods) such as Audrey’s Bear that donate a swaddle to a baby in a NICU or pediatric cancer center when you buy a swaddle.
Companies like these examples offer hope in this often troubling time. They are lead by people who have vision and compassion for their fellow humans. To improve your own leadership capabilities, you might have to adjust how you think about things. This isn’t bad for you though! Self-reflection is necessary for growth, and you don’t want the business world to continue to evolve and pass you by.
- Tell it like it is. Teams have to communicate well and know how to have the hard conversations. Leaders have to be able to tell it like it is, but they also have to use the right tone. There’s still love and trust in the room, but you have to be able to move the organisation forward. For some, this is a delicate line to walk, and you may have to learn how to read other people. Looking at body language, really listening to them in the moment, and withholding judgment will help you be a better leader.
- Learn to let things go and trust others. To grow, you have to learn to let things go. You can’t have everything that ever happened hanging over your mind like a dark cloud. Taking some time to relax and recharge your brain is necessary, and you can learn to let things that bother you flow on like water in a stream. You must also realise that even though you may be the ‘top dog’ leader in your organisation, you can’t do everything yourself. You have to delegate responsibilities and trust other people to get things done.
- Build a culture of family. Create an environment that brings people together. You want your employees, and their families, by extension, to feel like they belong. Everyone is a puzzle piece in the big picture. You can create a framework where people can be involved, and create a safe space of belonging for all, no matter where they came from or who they are.
Leaders have a real responsibility to be more than just managers. We need leaders on the political scene who can be compassionate but make sustainable changes that improve the lives of their citizens. We need leaders in business who recognise that there is more to life than making money. And we need leaders who aren’t afraid to ‘tell it how it is’ in a kind manner, encouraging growth and innovation.