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Are You Part of the Problem, or Part of the Solution? Putting "Lead" Back into Leadership

Posted on 11-25-2014

Many people split the world into dualities: You're either this or that. Positive or negative. On or off. Black or white. But in reality, human behavior occurs mostly in the shades of gray between any two extremes. So when it comes to leadership, I hate to say, "You're either part of the problem or part of the solution." But it's easy to see how it could be true.

"Lead" means "go first." So followers look to a leader for examples of how to behave and what to do. According to research by anthropologist Lionel Tiger, most baboons look at their leader every 20 seconds to see what they're doing. My Australian Shepard Lily follows me around the house and even while seemingly dozing, keeps an eye on me for cues of what to do. When we go for a walk, she continually looks at me for signals. Humans aren't much different. Your team members look to you to model their behavior...and like it or not, they'll follow your lead, whatever you do.

If you wander in at 9:00 every morning, don't expect they're going to rush out the door to arrive by 8:00. If you thrive on regular 60-hour workweeks, your team members may wear themselves out trying to keep up with you, even if you don't expect it. You don't want them to slack off, and you don't want them to drive themselves into burnout, but your behavior will serve as their role model one way or the other. Your attitude is contagious, too. If you're grumpy, you'll transmit that. If you're enthusiastic, they'll notice that too. So choose the one you want others to exhibit. Promote a solutions-only atmosphere to end useless complaining. Encourage new ideas. Make optimism your default state. 

You've heard the saying "monkey see, monkey do." What can you do differently, and how can you act differently to yield greater team productivity? How do your team members react to your work habits and moods? What purposeful changes have you made in the past that have directly influenced your team for the better?

Make it a productive day! (TM) (C) Copyright 2011 Laura Stack. All rights reserved. © 2011 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker whose mission is to build high-performance productivity cultures in organizations by creating Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations and the 2011-2012 President of the National Speakers Association. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today's workplaces. She is the bestselling author of four books: SUPERCOMPETENT; The Exhaustion Cure; Find More Time; and Leave the Office Earlier. Laura has been a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, Xerox, and Office Depot. She is the creator of The Productivity Pro® planner by Day-Timer and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Starbucks, Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America. To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401 or visit www.TheProductivityPro.com to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.