What Kind Of Environment Does Your Leadership Leave In Its Wake?
You’ve seen it in your daily interactions. Sometimes it’s powerful while at other times it isn’t. Its effects can be either long-lasting or easily forgotten. It can influence you to the point of welcoming that experience again or avoiding such encounters as much as possible in the future. You can learn from some of them or not learn anything at all.
Sometimes, it’s even nonexistent.
A Leader’s Wake – the impact which results from a leader’s presence. What’s left behind. The ripple effect. The lasting impact.
The impact of a leader’s personality and style on their environment can run the gamut from great productivity and growth to debilitating withdrawal and uncertainty.
When it comes to a leader’s impact on his or her surroundings, what tempo, environment, and culture does the leader’s impact set into motion?
“Remember: Your leadership is not only reflected in the actions you take in the moment, but in the environment you set for when you’re not around.”
It’s not about what the leader conveys specifically, but more about how they interact with those in their environments.
A person’s leadership wake can either set up a positive, neutral, or exhausting environment.
In the Positive Environment, the leader’s impact and approach allows others to thrive and bring their best abilities to the table in the fashion that suits those abilities and the environment best.
In the Exhausting Environment, the leader’s attitude cripples others by blindly charging forward without any semblance of listening, assessing, or asking, leading to the leader’s actions and decisions becoming counter-productive to the mission and demoralizing to the workforce due to that lack of awareness, curiosity, and coaching.
(A subgroup of the exhausting environment is one where the leader is intentionally aggressive in their expectations, believing [inaccurately] that pushing people to their limits will lead them to provide more and perform better.)
In the Neutral Environment, the leadership impact provides nothing. It doesn’t build a positive environment nor negate the environment into workplace poverty where it might become directionless, lacking, or stale. The environment just is. The work gets done; no more, no less.
So, as it applies to each of these environments, everyone’s impact – yes, even non-leaders can set these environments — along with that of the leaders, is made up of various factors which go into the total package of how one is viewed, interpreted, and remembered.
“Just because the job gets done doesn’t mean that the leader is doing a good job.”
It is not only the impact you have in one moment or project but the environment which you create and maintain by your simply being there which is paramount. Once you’ve established it for others in your initial encounters, they know what they can expect (or not) from you being around.
We should never only count past experience and success as the main measures to consider for who someone is and how effective they are; one’s impact on the current environment around them also needs to be considered. How one impacts that environment, whether positively or negatively, is indicative of that person’s leadership and professional ability.
— CiO Leadership Coach (@CoachItOut) November 3, 2014
Again, it is not only about what is achieved or not, but what kind of impression is left in the wake of that person’s impact.
Your impact is made up of the things you say and do with various criteria to consider.
In a coming series of posts, the interactions listed below will be covered to break down the environments leadership impact create — the positive, neutral, and exhausting environments.
- Knowledge Sharing
- Opinion Sharing
- Acknowledgement of Others
- Speaking to Others
- Listening to Others
- Guiding and Supporting Others
The series will then end with the post What Would Happen If I Weren’t Here Tomorrow? in order to tie all the components together and drive home the urgency calling us to consider what it is we leave in our wake.
So, how effective is your leadership impact? The answer to that is not necessarily dictated by the results that are met by your mission and group. Just because the job gets done doesn’t mean that the leader is doing a good job.
Also, leaders may be doing a decent job internally, but not as good as they could be doing if they considered their leadership methods and how they impact those around them.
“…it is not only about what is achieved or not, but what kind of impression is left in the wake of that person’s impact”
Leadership is not only harnessing ability but allowing it to thrive, whether through targeted action to seek out the abilities or through fostered development, allowing skills to grow in a conducive, open, supportive environment.
Leadership is not only about the results today but the stage that is set for the work tomorrow.
Each interaction can be a tool to build your environment. Pick and use your tools wisely, as they can be used for different reasons to achieve various results in your environment.
So, What About You?
- Are you cognizant of the wake that you leave and the environment which you set?
- Which experience do you provide to those whom you’re leading or with whom you’re working – positive, neutral, or exhausting?
- How can you adjust your approach once you’ve assessed the resulting environment? Are you open to making adjustments?