Posted on May 27, 2020 in Consulting

Today more than ever we need leaders to emerge in our workplace. Chris Akers, my executive coach, sparked this newsletter in a conversation about the concept of “a non-anxious presence.” The “non-anxious presence” stems from the teaching of Edwin Friedman and a book called Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix: A Failure of Nerve. See Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, Church Publishing Inc.

The book challenges conventional thought on leadership. It’s not an easy read but offers some great ideas at a time when every workplace needs strong leaders to help us persevere through COVID.

Leaders make bold decisions without the need for consensus

The best businesses will emerge strong from the current crisis because they have leaders who take bold actions not necessarily popular at the moment. Likeability does not define a leader; leadership should never be a popularity contest. Steve Jobs made this point clear: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream”. Leaders embrace that significant decisions make some people upset.

Human Resource professionals need to support our leaders through tough and unpopular decisions. We need to ensure our leaders stay true to their values and give them all the tools they need to succeed.

Remember, consensus does not mean a decision, policy or practice is good. Governing to make everyone happy means the weakest will set the standard. Instead, we should lead by making strong decisive actions.

Leaders must refuse to allow weak team members to set the agenda

Leaders remove negative people from their organization. Times are tough. Yet, we should embrace the fact that difficult, cost-cutting economics creates the opportunity to rid a business of those who hold it back.

Recalcitrant and passive-aggressive people preclude change and growth. These negative personalities stop new ideas from fruition with protests and excuses: “we can’t do that” and “we have never done it that way”. The same people dominate a company’s time and energy. These are the problem-child employees who create a sink hole of time-suck and wasted resources. These negative characters set the agenda forcing management to work through troubles created by the weakest links in the organization.

When we return to a job-growth economy, leaders will preclude negative influencers from joining their organization.

Few people can lead

Too much effort is exhausted trying to train every worker to be a leader. We drain resources on team building with people who are emotionally unwilling to be teammates. Employers would be more successful if they focused on finding and developing the select few in the ranks for grooming.

Skills and leadership training has been cut across the board in the current economics. When training resumes, companies should focus their time and effort developing only the select few.

We will get through this together. Stronger leaders will emerge having overcome the challenge.



A PaperStreet Web Design