It is difficult to predict the future. What is going to happen in the stock market? Will my property value continue to increase? Will I be able to afford to send my children to college? The current stable economy will not last forever.
No one knows what the future holds but I do know that those organizations that have the best leadership will be positioned to be the most competitive, the most desirable to work at and the most likely to prosper in any economic climate.
When a leader freaks out and starts changing things their people are intensely affected. Inconsistent leadership creates an environment that is full of distractions for the people they lead. When the people are distracted they cannot focus on the purpose, mission and tasks at hand for the enterprise.
It will always come back to what you believe. What do you believe about keeping your commitments? What do you believe about your people? What do you believe about what is in your control? What do you believe about the values that you say you have and make decisions by?
It is common to want to change, cut, reorganize and eliminate during uncertain times. In uncertain times the foundation of great leadership is staying steady. The key is to understand where and what to stay steady with.
Steady With Your Values
It is your values that keep you steady. Your values detail what you believe about who you are as an organization, how you see your people, what you believe your commitment to the community is and what excellence looks like in your organization.
People do not realize how quickly they are moved by external pressure. They are quick to change what they do. They don’t stay steady with their values. They may not even give their values a thought. If they have a great set of values the values will serve them in good and difficult times – that’s part of the test of a great set of values. The values are your rock. They are your foundation.
Steady With Your People
How you see your people is critical. The people you lead know if you believe in them or resent them. They know if you trust them or fear them. And, they know if you see them as important or inessential to your success.
When you believe that your people create solutions to the challenges you face, you treat them differently than if you see them as the cause of those problems. This critical belief about the people you work with will shape every decision you make and your effectiveness as a powerful leader.
Steady With What You Control
Truly great leaders also have a complete understanding of four areas of control. They understand what they can control. They understand what they cannot control. They understand what they should not try and control. And, they understand when something is out of control.
When you focus on what you cannot control, weak economic conditions and soft markets, then you start making excuses for underperformance. When you understand what is truly in your control, you naturally focus on those areas and create solutions to challenges and lead your people in a more powerful way.
If you, as the leader, are freaking out over things that are out of your control then your people will also. If you, as the leader, are steady, calm and focused on what you can control then so are the people you lead. In challenging times, as in any times, calm and focused always wins out.
Steady In Accountability
Accountability is first and foremost about people. So is leadership. Accountability is not something you do by yourself. Nor is it something you ask of your people, if you as the leader are not living it yourself. That is never going to work.
When you keep your commitments to your people, when you are an accountable leader, your people respond differently. They focus, they are productive and they seek both your success and the success of the organization.
Accountability is never about taking the easy way out. There is no quick fix. Accountability is labor intensive. Time is a friend to accountability. Accountability is an investment you make in your people and in your organization for the long haul. Accountability is there when times are good and anyone can prosper. It is there when times are tough when only some prosper.
We live in the present. The past is gone. There is only now. How we lead now, today, will determine the future of our relationships, our organizations and the results we achieve.
Accountability is the future of leadership. Those organizations, in the future, that focus on accountability will always have the best people, the most committed people and achieve the greatest results.