As I’m writing this, Donald has lost, but is clinging on and not displaying a modicum of class by conceding to Joe and Kamala. I hope by the time this article is published, he has come to terms with it and is ‘doing the right thing’ by the American people.
Because ‘doing the right thing’ is incredibly important when you’re a leader’. Being a good role model is crucial. I spent most of my career in very ‘masculine’ industries - construction, engineering, IT... where I saw some excellent examples of leadership and some incredibly poor ones. I wondered how on earth some of these people got to occupy very senior roles, when they were clearly out of their depth and utterly incompetent. It was obvious they were struggling. They hid behind a mask of arrogance and used the tactics of blame, holding on to important information to seem more powerful and being brilliant at managing up. The “I’m more important and powerful than you” style of leadership.
I thought this style of leadership was dying out, sadly this isn’t the case. It occurs when confidence and competence are confused. Where compassion and empathy are regarded as weakness. These types of managers are generally despised by the people they manage. Are you going to do your best for someone who doesn’t value you? Who bullies you? Who sets you and your co-workers against each other? I would very quickly lose my motivation to do a good job for them.
When faced with these bosses it is very easy to become seduced into behaving in similar ways. Because this is the culture they create. They wear you down to their level as ‘doing the right thing’ all the time is exhausting.
I was asked recently what we do about these leaders. And I mistakenly said - they are not worth the effort it takes to change them. On reflection, my answer was wrong. These are the people who need the most help. Imagine what it would be like in organisations (and governments) if we could help these leaders understand there is a much better way to do things, an (arguably) easier way to get the best out of people.
As we say in our 5th Article of the Work Pirate Code:
We use our best judgement.
We trust that everyone is doing their best.
We do what we say we will do and if we can’t, we will ask for help.
We are kind to each other and to ourselves.
When things go wrong, we address it head-on - we don’t let problems fester and cause us more problems in the long-run.
We have no idea what people are dealing with in their personal life - so we choose to be compassionate, empathetic and nice.
Surely this is what we want in our leaders? We believe in a world where everyone feels happy at work, empowered to strive towards their potential and free to create better ways of working.