Great Bosses Don’t Discount Others, They Validate Others

Guest post
from S. Chris Edmonds:

I believe we
are all leaders in our families, communities, and workplaces. “But wait,”
you say, “I’m not a formal leader in my organization.” That may be – but
it doesn’t mean that you’re not a powerful influencer. The reality is you are –
we all are – in daily conversations with others.

Our
conversations with others might have neutral impact. More likely, though, our
conversations have a powerful impact. Those conversations inspire,
discount, validate, or erode others’ skills, ideas, efforts, and accomplishments
– whether we’re aware of it or not.

As powerful
leaders and influencers, let’s carefully consider a leader’s
responsibilities – and a leader’s reason for being.

In a recent post and podcast, I
proposed this draft purpose of leadership:

“Effective
leaders set high standards for performance and values, validate efforts and
contributions, and ensure cooperative interaction and performance in a
trusting, respectful work environment.”

So far, most
people have said this rings true for them as they consider their best bosses,
how those bosses behaved, and how they inspired top performance and great team
citizenship. I’d love your feedback, as well.

I hope you can
see how this purpose of leadership statement applies not only in the workplace,
but in our communities, neighborhoods, and families, too.

I
believe we are at our best as leaders and influencers when we express
gratitude for people’s skills, efforts, and ideas . . . when we clarify purpose
and goals . . . when we praise progress . . . when we redirect instead of
punish . . . when we celebrate cooperative interaction, not competitive
interaction.

What prompted
this was a number of unfortunate interactions I overheard or observed recently.
These were “you’re not good enough” messages, delivered
unkindly.

The intent of
the influencer (some were parents, some were formal leaders, some were
peers) might have been to inspire greater performance from the listener.
Their impact, though, was deflating and defeating. You could see it,
immediately.

If what people
are doing and saying is not beneficial, effective leaders and influencers must
engage – to educate about the opportunity or reset the agreed-to goal or to
listen and learn about what’s getting in the way of aligned behavior and
contribution.

There are
hundreds of options available to us, as influencers, to value the listener
while inspiring aligned behavior.

Degrading,
deflating, dismissing, or discounting a person’s efforts, skills, progress, and
ideas is not going to create an engaged, willing partner.

Those
behaviors certainly don’t create a safe, inspiring, engaging, productive
environment with colleagues, family, or neighbors.

We leaders and
influencers need to make civility a minimum standard in all of our
interactions. We can control our words, our tone, our intent, our decisions,
and our actions to be civil to others.

With a little
extra consideration, we can extend that civility and reach towards
acknowledging others and validating others’ contributions.

How might you
live the leader’s purpose in your next interaction? Plan ahead, be of service,
and dive in.

S. Chris
Edmonds
 is a
sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. He’s the CEO of The Purposeful
Culture Group
. After a 15-year career leading and managing teams,
Chris began his consulting company in 1990. Since 1995, Chris has also served
as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the author or
co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading
At A Higher Level
 with Ken Blanchard. His blog posts, podcasts,
assessments, research, and videos can be found at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com.