And one of my earliest sales jobs, I worked in a small office. My manager was a bright and capable woman about 10 years older than me. I admired her career trajectory and all she had accomplished.
Despite my admiration, there were certain aspects about her that I’ve vowed never to emulate. Chief among these was her unpredictability, especially at the beginning of the day before she had her coffee.
The group of sales reps, about six of us, tiptoed in each morning because we were afraid of disturbing her if she wasn’t yet in a reasonable mood. We all worked hard to avoid her wrath in the morning.
Thursday mornings were the worst. Our weekly sales meeting was held at the very beginning of the day, when her mood was most likely to be erratic at best and venomous in many cases.
Those weekly beat downs, coupled with the occasional and unexpected encounters we might have another mornings made a so quite glad when she decided to move into another job.
But it is something. Despite the common experience and our awareness that none of us deserved those tongue lashings, we did allow ourselves to be affected by her mood.
In other words, Thursdays didn’t improve when the meeting was over. Instead our collective moods continued to inflame aggravated exchanges throughout the day.
Leaders sometimes forget just how much influence and impact they have even when they don’t intend to. That’s why it’s so important for a leader to consider the behaviors they exhibit. Those behaviors will change the office dynamic and could significantly impaired productivity and work output. What’s more, people emulate leaders. So when a leader is behaving badly, the likely outcome is that others will behave badly, too.
If you’re like the boss I described, you might joke about your mood or imply that it’s just that you got up on the wrong side of the bed or that you haven’t had your first cup of coffee yet. So what? Others should not be subjected to your moods for something so trivial.
Being a leader doesn’t give you permission to treat others badly. You don’t get to make excuses more than you would allow others to make excuses. Fact, just the opposite is true. The standard is higher for a leader.
Figure out which side of the bed is the right one. Find a way to get your first cup of coffee. Stop making those excuses and start modeling behavior you expect from others. That’s real leadership.