How Does Your Role As The Leader Make The Case For Your Organization or Mission?

How do others outside of your organization view you? Not your leadership, not your organization, not your workforce. YOU.

Leadership, for the most part, takes into consideration what happens within an organization – how the organization and its mission are driven, influenced, and shaped by its leader.

The organization already should have its ongoing reputation established, staking its claim in its industry.

The workforce should be known for its commitment to quality and pride in the work delivered.

But what kind of capital does a leader hold with those on the outside who may or may not be direct or indirect stakeholders? What does a leader look like to, and how are they perceived by, an outside observer? The gamut of interaction with, and interest by, those observers can range from those who are actively interested in the organization to those who passively hear about the work of the leader and organization.

“A leader should not be so proud or arrogant that they feel they do not need outside resources or support. He or she should not be dismissive or defiant, believing only in his or her own skill or ability.”

To some extent, it is important that one do what one would do to achieve the mission without putting too much stock in what others say. It is important to do what you need to do and not worry what the naysayers have to say. But that, specifically, is tied to people who are doubters, providing unwarranted and undeserved feedback, commentary, or energy. We should all tune out those who are overly negative or infusing too much negative thinking into the environment around us without providing any constructive observations.

Having said that, there’s a time and place to take into account the opinions of others. One must still take into consideration the credibility they are afforded by others because no one will want to deal with an organization if they don’t want to entertain the leader’s attitude or approach.

In few instances will the organization’s work and reputation be able to supersede how much stock is placed in a leader’s demeanor and style. An organization may have its house, finances, and business in order – a testament to the leader’s likely leadership and management prowess – but still lose out on business and relationship development due to the poor social capital of that leader.

“An organization may have its house, finances, and business in order – a testament to the leader’s likely leadership and management prowess – but still lose out on business and relationship development due to the poor social capital of that leader.”

The reputation of the leader is the face of an organization’s administration. It sets the tone. It should convey the personality of the organization. The leader serves as the organization’s masthead when it comes to reputation.

The public façade dictates the perception of what an organization is. One person can make or break a deal.

The importance of a leader’s impact on organizational culture is not lost on anyone with a keen and curious eye, and, therefore, the attitude of the leader, it can be assumed, would trickle down through and permeate the organizational structure.

So if the leader is seen as obtuse, self-centered, and intolerable, he or she becomes a liability and a detriment to the organization, and the organization will suffer.

Those in such an organization that is structurally sound but in which the leader lacks outward-facing credibility and solid reputation need to be careful not to be blinded. They can be lulled into complacency by the internal state of the business, losing cognizance of the impact their leader’s poor demeanor makes on others and, hence, later, themselves.

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If the leader is open-minded, practical, and pragmatic, the organization can benefit, and the leader is then held in high esteem.

So, assuming the business and organization is sound, it can fall to the energy in that leader’s perception to likely dictate the direction of the business. A positive perception can yield greater work, collaboration, and trust, while a negative perception can result in the opposite.

“There’s a time and place to take into account the opinions of others. No one will want to deal with an organization if they don’t want to deal with its leader.”

For instance, in business, in general, strong performance today doesn’t guarantee boundless revenue going forward. That general uncertainty can be even more muddied by a leader with poor public perception — an organization forgoes its future if there is not balance between the performance of the internal fundamentals and the reputation of its leader to the outside world.

Another great example exists in politics. A government may have a sound foundation in budget and organization but be losing out on greater growth and reputation due to the perception of its leader, whether he or she be a president, governor, mayor, etc.

A leader should not be so proud or arrogant that they feel they do not need outside resources or support. He or she should not be dismissive or defiant, believing only in his or her own skill or ability. It takes an ongoing, proactive effort to achieve and maintain great credibility.

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An organization’s mission is not about the survival and exultation of the leader; it’s about the people in the organization, which itself needs to evolve, grow, and expand.

This may sound like common sense, but this kind of negligence occurs much too often—and it’s such a simple fix. Some may see relationship fostering as passive exercise, but it should be an ongoing and demonstrated habit.

Sure, you may not know what kind of capital your external attitude as a leader might gain you or your organization, but why not err on the side of caution?

So, What About You?

  • How important do you feel your outward-facing demeanor to the public is?
  • What steps do you take above and beyond your responsibilities and duties to ensure you’re an ambassador of your company?
  • What habits have you changed in order to live that ambassadorship role?

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