So far in this series on effective leadership we have looked at the importance of leaders being trustworthy and caring. The next important aspect of effective leadership is STABILITY.
When leaders are unstable:
- team members don't know what to expect. They often have to walk on "egg shells" as they don't
- know how the leader will respond to them or take things that they say.
- there will be a lack of clear direction as the leader will seem to go from one "bright idea" to the next, often in an erratic way.
- there might not be any consistency in the expectations that they have of their team members.
- they may gather around themselves their inner group of supporters who will give them the
- confidence that they are looking for. While people may enjoy being in a favored clique, they can also very quickly find themselves out of the "circle of trust".
- they can be suspicious of the motives of team members.
When leaders are stable:
- team members feel more relaxed and confident about the future.
- changes or new initiatives are sensible and the team is guided through the process.
- team members feel comfortable in asking for advice.
- there is more confidence in the future success of the work.
- they help the group survive difficult times and will have a confident approach to dealing with problems.
- they are more comfortable in their roles and are welcoming of new ideas and people.
- there will be a more defined and realistic vision for the group.
When stable leaders become unstable:
With the pressures of leadership and life, even the toughest can crack. Sometimes leaders burn out or just feel overwhelmed with their roles. When leaders are struggling, they often deny their instability as they are afraid of the cost of sharing honestly and becoming vulnerable. It is vital to have some support structures available to help leaders who are struggling.
If you are going through a difficult time and not coping well, then it is important to seek support from others in the organization or see a health professional. It's like having some tooth decay; the longer you leave it, the bigger it will get and the more painful it will become.
Would people see you as a person who is stable, grounded and solid?
Steve Bagi is the principal of Actuate Consulting and a consulting psychologist and speaker who has over 25 years of experience in leadership and organizational development. He specializes in helping staff teams to understand and develop their strengths, leading to greater individual and team effectiveness. Although based in Australia, Steve works with leaders throughout the world.