Posted on April 23rd, 2017
Ego is a nuance of leadership that is rarely discussed, but always has the potential to get in the way of accomplishing meaningful work. As money in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors becomes less available, collaboration is essential to effectively serving those who are in need. The economy and politics are forcing organizations and their leaders to play nice with people they may have previously been seen as a “threat” or a “competitor”). When a person or organization exerts their ego within a collaborative effort, the people participating know it; and it can quickly complicate the decision making process and ultimately prevent accomplishing something that in the long run will serve everyone involved and the public’s best interest. At some point you — yourself – will have to weigh the principles at stake and the impact they will have on you and the organization you represent. Do you collaborate knowing there is an ego-centric motivation? To make that decision, I ask myself this… Will following/collaborating with an egocentrically motivated agenda successfully bring about an outcome that will resolve the social ill/problem? Will my involvement cause me to take action that is unethical or illegal? Will it cause me to appear as though I am involved in unethical or illegal behavior? If the answer is YES, the issue is likely to get resolved; and if the answer is NO, ethical and legal standards will not be manipulated or compromised — nor will it cause me to appear as though I am involved with something unethical or illegal – then I put MY ego aside and do what I can to help makes things happen. As I see it…If someone’s personal agenda is furthered while still making the community a better place that is providing leadership for the sake of social good. I’m happy to be part of that! Don’t confuse ego with confidence. Confidence is an attribute that a leader has to have if others are going to follow.
Posted on April 15th, 2017
Serving the public and leading a nonprofit organization requires knowledge, skills and experience, but it also requires the ability to develop relationships. A leader’s role changes with each person they interact with. Each person comes with a different perspective and expectation. You could interact with two people in the same exact way, yet each can leave with a different perception about who you are.
I believe how you look and how you conduct yourself in your professional life – and in your personal life – will influence who and to what degree people are willing to follow your leadership. The clothes you wear, the car you drive, where you live, how you participate in your community and your personal lifestyle all affect the perceptions others hold about you. That also affects your ability to relate to others.
I’m not concerned with keeping up with the latest fashions or how I am perceived based on the car I drive. I do dress professionally, but I don’t push the fashion envelope. I drive an older station wagon, because its so practical. I live in modest neighborhood, in a new sustainable home that my partner and I built in 2006. (He actually built it. I showed up every once-in-a-while to hand him things.)
I believe my lack of interest in the material world makes it easier for clients, staff, volunteers to relate to me, and I like that. On the other hand if I had more interest in an upwardly mobile image and lifestyle it would probably make it easier for me to connect and relate with those who possess the wealth and influence, which would further my motivations to accomplishment more social good.
I am not saying that that one lifestyle is right and the other way is wrong. I’m simply saying lifestyle plays a part in your ability to get others to believe in you/identify with you/follow you/support you. Each has its own set of pros & cons.
I encourage you make your own observations and ask yourself how does your lifestyle impact your professional life. How does it affect your ability to relate to others, form meaningful relationships and still be true to whom you are and what you want to accomplish as a leader?
Posted on April 2nd, 2017
I prize the fact that I am able to go to work each day and know that I can make decisions on a set of principles/values based on honesty and integrity. I consider myself very fortunate that I work in a culture that supports “doing the right thing”. I value working in an environment that values integrity.
Not everyone is quite so fortunate.Employees are often in a position of having to sacrifice their personal & professional ethical code of conduct to remain employed.There are companies that intentionally hire people they can lead, because they know that individual stands for nothing. That type of individual makes the perfect “figurative leader”. He/she is one who can be easily led by those above him/her.
As you aspire to accomplish more as leader, be aware that YOU set the tone and the standards of what is acceptable behavior. This will affect what others will ask you to do/not ask you to do.Do you know what you stand for? Can you be bought? Do you work at creating an illusion of who you are, by talking out of both sides of your mouth? Or are you one where your words and your actions are consistent with each other?
If you haven’t already done so, take a personal inventory of the code of ethics that you live and work by. Determine for yourself the extent to which you are willing go to be a role model for what you believe. What are you willing to say “no” to in order to uphold those principles? Are you willing to lose your job for it? Once you have made these determinations for yourself, you will find that this is your rudder. It is what will guide you when confronted with difficult circumstances. It will give you the courage to provide the necessary direction.