There are many mistakes that leaders make that undermine their leadership and influence. Most of them are based in self-interest, ego and apathy, but there is one common mistake that destroys leadership on a regular basis.
Too many leaders are guilty of hypocritical expectations – meaning they expect their people to behave one way and exempt themselves from the same expectations.
We just a large remodel of our house, so I have had the good fortune of dealing with a lot of different contractors. The truth is some were amazing and some were horrible. One of the horrible ones was the group who built the basketball court in the backyard; it seemed like a fairly easy project. They said it would take a few days. I gave them a 50% deposit and they got to work. After a couple of days the court was about 80% done and they disappeared. I called, I text, I emailed but I heard nothing. I didn’t get a single response for over four months!
Then one day they knocked on the door and said, “We are here to finish the court.” They acted like nothing had ever happened. They finished their job and it looked great!
As soon as they finished they asked me to pay them the rest of the money and I said, “I am happy to pay you – but you had a four month window you took to finish the job – so I will take the same four month window to pay you” – You can imagine how much they liked that.
This little experience is all too common in leadership. Think about the resentment and disrespect that comes from people who are given hypocritical expectations from their leader. It undermines influence and destroys leadership.
Leadership is based in relationships and when there is a relationship, accountability occurs naturally. The leader is accountable to the people and the people are accountable to the leader.
This is what I call partnership based leadership and it is the leadership that really works in today’s world.
Make sure you are not guilty of hypocritical expectations.