Leadership & Lemonade: Don’t skimp on the sweetener

Do you answer "yes" to any of these questions?

CentennialA tall glass of chilled lemonade is the quintessential treat of summer.  Its tartness is counter-balanced by sweetness; it cools and refreshes on the hottest of days.  Would your employees describe you in a similar way?  Do you have enough sweetness in your leadership to refresh others?  Does your personality convince people to stay or run away from your organization?

A recent Gallup study revealed that 1 in 2 people have left a job at some point in their life to get away from their manager.   When most people leave a job, it’s often because of their boss, not because of their role.  When a boss leaves a sour taste in your mouth, you are eager to move on to something more appealing.

Do These Statements Describe You?  If so, you might need to add a little sweet to your sour.

  • You’re controlling.  You micromanage your staff to the point of exasperation.
  • You blame-shift.  Somehow nothing is your fault.
  • You’re a kiss-up.  Your attitude changes depending on who is in the room.
  • You’re not open to other people’s ideas.  You only want “yes-men” to tell you you’re brilliant.
  • You interrupt.  You talk the most and the loudest, minimizing what others have to say.
  • You don’t find solutions, you just complain about what is not right.
  • You criticize with no compassion.  Emotional intelligence is not your forte.
  • You keep yourself behind closed doors, discouraging any interaction.
  • You’re disrespectful.  You belittle other people’s ideas, mock other people’s efforts and disregard other people’s schedules.
  • You don’t initiate personal conversation. It’s all business all the time.
  • You regularly talk about other employees in a negative way, which makes everyone wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.
  • You act like work is all they have going on in life.  Shifting schedules and asking people to work extra hours is a regular occurrence.
  • You don’t praise your employees.  Worse yet, you accept the praise for their work without passing it on.
  • You don’t stand up for your employees when they fail in some way.
  • You yell and cuss at your employees.  When you don’t get the results you want, you turn into a bully.
  • You don’t deliver on your promises.  You talk a big talk but don’t follow-through.
  • You focus on the negative.  You lack sensitivity and compassion.
  • You don’t lead by example.  Your standards don’t apply to your own behavior.
  • You don’t offer help.  Little or no training is provided and you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves to pitch in.
  • You avoid conflict.  When an issue needs to be addressed, you choose to look the other way.
  • You hoard information rather than communicating with your team.

Your Attitude Effects Your Organization’s Success

If the any of the above statements can be said about you, then your organization is suffering from your attitude. You are in dire need of adding some “sweetener” to your leadership.  This isn’t about being a sappy pushover with no spine, it’s about being a leader that people enjoy and respect.

Employee retention and engagement hinge on the personality of the managers.  If employees feel unappreciated, fearful, and stepped on, they won’t do a good job for you and they’ll be quick to find an organization that doesn’t make them feel that way.

No one expects everything that comes out of your mouth to always be easy to hear.  There are times you may need to pass down some unfortunate information. After all, there is a sour part of lemonade – but your leadership should not be predominately sour.  There needs to be kindness, compassion, and a ready smile to make you a manager that people are eager to work hard for.

In the spirit of being sweet, tell us what is the kindest action you’ve received from a boss that has been as refreshing as cold lemonade on a hot, hot day.

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