Having arrived on site nice and early, I was looking forward to working with a client’s Senior Management Team. Well prepared, with lots of exciting material on Leadership, I was imagining with a smile how the day would unfold; until my vision was interrupted by the behaviour of the managers walking in.
Barely a grunt, in they trouped, dragging their imaginary ball and chain behind them. They sat down and took out their notebooks; staring down at the empty page.
I decided not to say anything until someone made eye contact with me. Eventually, the long silence made them look up, at which point I asked “What’s up?”
“What do you mean?” was the reply.
“Something must have happened; shall we deal with that now and then we can move on and enjoy the day.”
“Nothing has happened; why do you ask?” they replied.
“I ask because your demeanour as you all walked in was really flat; and you all have a face like a wet weekend. I’m curious to know why that is?”
A light went on, everyone perked up and a lively debate ensued about the possible causes of this malaise. They had no idea of the negative vibe they were giving off and confronting that changed the whole flavour of the session; as well as creating increased self-awareness.
These managers learned that their attitude continually impacts the people around them; and of course they all have line management responsibility.
A notable aspect of effective leadership is motivation; and the ability to inspire that in others. It’s difficult to provide that inspiration when you look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
This week’s link is to the Leadership & Management Stock-take for those of you wanting to hold a mirror up to unconscious management behaviour.