Corporate Addictions in Leadership

I quit sugar. For anyone who knows me this was no mean fete. It was after a weekend where I’d eaten 18 mini Milky Way Bars and then snuck two of my daughters Easter Eggs and still didn’t feel satisfied that I realised it was a problem. A huge, sugar addicted problem. I resolved to give it up. First week I let myself have a couple of slip ups, but guess what? It didn’t work, I was straight back to consuming family bags of lollies in no time. So it had to be cold turkey, all or nothing. Now there is one exception to this…alcohol, I have to have one vice right?! I’m already coeliac and dairy intolerant so it doesn’t leave a lot! However I have changed my habits there too, I’m more conscious of my choices – soda water now being my only mixer for example.  The results? Eight weeks on I no longer spend every day wondering when it’s an appropriate time to have that first “hit”. The long term health benefits I think will be obvious, but so too, my skin is better, I sleep better and have lost weight – a happy side effect! Also, I’ve noticed it’s affected my daughters attitude towards sweets, now that mummy’s not having them (for the record I always very closely monitored her intake – easy to tell someone else what to do right?!) she’s no longer asking for them either, so better all round for both of us.

The obvious and wide reaching benefits of giving up this addiction have been awesome, and I’ve resolved to keep it up. But it also got me thinking about workplace, for this post particularly leadership addictions or patterns of behaviour, that currently detrimental, if changed could also turn to work in you or the organisations’ favour.

For example are you the type of manager who has to have the last say? Who won’t ever back down and admit that you may be in the wrong? Do you even recognise this in yourself? For sometimes addictions creep up on us without us even realising.

Are you the type of leader that can do everything yourself? Do you fail to delegate to your staff, or fully utilise them for their knowledge and competencies, complaining that you’re too busy and overworked, but loathe to give anything up for a multitude of reasons ranging from control, through power and blindness?

Or are you the corporate psychopath? The leader who thinks nothing of other’s feelings and emotions, of how what you do and say may affect others? Are you the absentee boss? Do your staff wonder who you are and what you do from the top of your ivory tower? Is bullying your tactic? Do you use this as a way to manipulate staff into your desired results?

All of these scenarios are very real, and in the worst cases there are leaders displaying one, more or all of these behaviours. The results? A disengagement and disillusionment of staff meaning you are not getting the best out of your employees and ensuring an adverse effect on productivity. It’s likely too that a breakdown in culture would ensue, or worse, a reactive culture is born out of suspicion, wariness and fear of the leader or manager.

The good news is many behaviours once identified can be unlearnt. This may take time and hard work, but ultimately the benefits far outweigh any short term pain. In terms of engagement, retention, churn, attraction, absenteeism a positive trending curve would emerge, which ultimately leads to a positive impact on the bottom line.

So whilst your corporate leadership addictions may not be as extreme as these examples, look at yourself. Really look at yourself – what could you change about your behaviours, habits or otherwise to positively impact your organisation and its employees? And maybe you wouldn’t recognise these behaviours in yourself? Is it time to ask for honest and upfront feedback – and if you did, could you `take it? I quit sugar, now the corporate challenge is on…

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