Monday, 25 november 2019 | Redacción CEU
Leaders are the visible face in teams. They are the people who assume the control and who are responsible for managing the group’s activity. Does this mean that all bosses are good leaders? Does this mean that all the people who are responsible for making the important decisions in teams have leadership skills? Does this mean that whenever someone takes command, he or she plays a good role as a leader? Indeed, it does not. Being a leader means something more than representing a hierarchical position. Although the term "leader" does not always appear next to the word "ethics", somehow, it is always affected by its relationship with it.
In this blog, we have mentioned on multiple occasions the attributes that good leaders should have, how they serve as an example for the rest and what makes employees be inspired by them. On the contrary, we have not delved into the mistakes that they should avoid if they really want to aspire to become ethical leaders. In this case, the use of the verb "to aspire" is not unintentional: being a leader is not limited to simply complying with a list of requirements, but rather is a constant effort to learn and overcome oneself. It is a process through which human beings must be placed in the center, no matter how difficult the context is. Although each situation and scenario are different, knowing someone else’s mistakes may be really useful on your way to becoming a good leader.
Many professionals are accustomed to rewarding individual efforts to the detriment of global ones. This is a common way to measure performance. For example, this is what bosses do when they get angry because "X" has sold ten items while "Y" has only sold seven. Sometimes, they forget that there are factors that are also crucial for the good performance of teams: Y’s performance might be decisive for X’s selling. It is important to know both how to focus on what is really failing, as well as on what is working well. Leaders should not get carried away by superficial approaches, they should go beyond. Otherwise, they might end up reproducing prejudices and fostering a climate of hostility, rather than one of healthy competitiveness.
All employees are different. Therefore, when leaders take advantage and enhance the special skills that the different members of the team have, it is when teams grow and prosper. However, this cannot serve as an excuse for giving a different treatment to workers. In this sense, striking a balance is key, without ever forgetting to work on what makes each employee different.
Thinking that leaders are the people who always have to make all the decisions in teams is a serious mistake. Delegating is a way to involve the team members in the achievement of goals. As long as it is the boss the one who makes all the decisions, employees will not be able to identify with the projects in which they participate. There are tips when delegating that may be really useful in this sense such as entrusting the task to the most appropriate professional, sharing the possible information about the task, supervising the process, offering support and help when necessary, etc.
Leaders should not only boast the virtues of their teams when they receive praises and good reviews, they must also take responsibility when things are not working the way as they were planned. Otherwise, they would be limited to exercising the role of boss, but not that of a leader. No one calls "leader" to someone who leaves the team when things are turning ugly. In a situation like this, the first thing that superiors have to do is ask themselves what is failing. The second thing, they should talk with their teams.
In order to occupy a leadership position, it is essential to be self-confident. Nevertheless, having too much ego may be counterproductive for professionals. Leaders also make mistakes. Contrary to what it may seem, accepting these errors makes them stronger and more respectable, since no one is infallible. In turn, being aware of this vulnerability also helps them be more open to other people’s ideas. Good leaders must always be open to change to detect opportunities.
Some of the aforementioned points may lead us to think that, to be a leader, it is necessary to be permissive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Leaders have to know how to say "no". On the one hand, because they will end up working alone otherwise. On the other hand, because not all demands are fair. In this case, assertiveness is a key quality. There are some tips that may help them in this sense like explaining the reasons in a clear way, being direct without being aggressive or passive, suggesting alternatives, etc.
Leaders should not participate and generate rumors. If they do so, they downplay a pernicious behavior at work, becoming thus a less respectable actor for their teams. With this behavior, they only encourage division among employees.
As the main job of leaders is to lead other people, many professionals forget to work on themselves. Just as good leaders have to focus on improving the qualities and skills of their employees, they should also focus on doing it themselves. What better example than demanding from yourself what you demand from others!
The CEU IAM Business School provides different training programs focused on the experience of management, but always from the same point of view: maintaining a remarkable ethical sense in leadership. This is the approach of programs such as our Executive MBA, our Automotive Sector MDP, our Pharma & Biotec MDP, our Expert Program in Management of Food Industries (online) or our Innovation and Real Estate Business MDP. Ask for further information!