Management Coaching Blog

Manager Tip of the Week:  Are you assuming the lead or earning it?

January 6, 2016

In the corporate setting, leaders are often appointed the position of managing one or more people on a team.  Typically, they’ve earned the position by displaying some level of capabilities in the leadership realm.  Can, however, these appointed leaders automatically assume that their team will follow them because of their rank?

Consider a single file line containing 20 people.  You are the person in the very front, responsible for leading the line to a specific destination.  You start walking toward your destination.  You continually turn around to ensure every person is following you.  You shout out instructions on where to go next.  You ask everyone to hold hands, so no one gets left behind.  Yet, you notice some are still lagging and others are wandering in a different direction.  Wait!  You are leading.  Shouldn’t all of these people go where you go and do what you want them to do?   Not necessarily.  Why?

Employees will only follow leaders to a certain degree simply because of their appointed position.  Early on in the relationship, most times not even consciously, an employee decides whether they can trust their leader.  They want to know if the leader has their best interests in mind, if they are leading to a good place and if they will benefit from reaching the intended destination.

How, then, can leaders instill a sense of trust in their relationships and continually communicate these mutual benefits so that teams know they are trustworthy, are knowledgeable about where they are going and sense their leader has their best interests in mind?

I’d like to reference an earlier blog titled 12 Qualities of an Effective Leader where I outline specific behaviors for an effective leader.  In addition to these, however, I’d like to point out three behaviors that effective leaders should eliminate immediately. These behaviors will threaten the trust levels of any team.

  • Double standards

If you do not follow the same rules that you expect everyone else to follow, your actions will take a heavy toll on your credibility and quickly undermines trust.  The same goes for varying your expectations between direct reports.  Explaining your rational for double standards only makes it worse.

  • Unrealistic expectations

Employees can only be expected to deliver what is communicated to or asked of them.  Good leaders do not expect anything more, nor get upset when an employee does not deliver expectations not communicated.  Likewise, ensure employees have all the necessary resources to deliver what you are asking of them.

  • Blame Game

Leaders need to be confident enough to take the blame when they make an error.  Not only is it leadership suicide to blame someone else for your mistakes, but taking responsibility and learning from mistakes sets a good example to your team.  Everyone makes mistakes.  How do you want your team to handle theirs when they do?  Handle yours the same.

If you would like to learn more about the behaviors and skills of effective leaders, contact me at  or 312-914-1341 today for a FREE CONSULTATION.

> > Article originally appeared on the Tandem HR website < <

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply