by Julian Azzopardi, Up Your Level, CEO

We hear leaders complain about staff every day.

We hear staff complain about leaders every day too.

We hear governments complain about business, and business complain about government every day as well.

So what happens next.

Two things.

Either … Nothing!

Nothing happens if we just keep on complaining.

Nothing happens if we keep pointing our fingers at others.

Nothing happens if we cannot stand up to be counted.

Or … Lead the way.

Leading the way means walking the talk.

Walking the talk means thinking carefully about what to say.

Thinking carefully about what to say means we have to put effort into it if we want it to stick.

Effort is the sum of intent + purpose.

Intent + Purpose means understanding the core values and behaviours that are going to underpin everything you think, say, do, achieve.

If your leadership is not based on sound core values and a purpose that is compelling enough to inspire, start over.

There is no easy way out. Actually there is.

The way out

Stand up and be counted amongst those leaders who value Integrity over Short cuts. Purpose over Profit. Accountability over Ego.

If you are not able to connect with your people, then think about what you are saying, what you are doing, because it is very likely that the answer is staring right back at you, but you are oblivious to it because you are focusing on the wrong thing.

It starts with us.

Leadership is a role to embrace and be embraced. 

Don’t make it about you, your profits, your beach house or your retirement.

Leadership is ALWAYS about your legacy.

If your legacy looks like a skyline of concrete buildings, then do not expect your people to contribute to a skyline of evergreen trees.

If your leadership is contributing to the very things you are complaining about, then start by changing the way your leadership is determining the behaviours you dislike so much.

The answer

There is no silver bullet.

I do not have all the answers (and whoever tells you they do are lying).

I can say that the more you complain about those around you, the more the people around you are going to do the same about you. So don’t be surprised about the “great resignation” or “quiet quitting”, because you reap what you sow.

I’ve seen great leadership and terrible leadership over the past few years (and more so during the pandemic). I’ve noted the traits of authentic leaders pull through an entire organisation, and I’ve also seen the impact of ego and profit maximisation ruin reputations.

I’m not one to judge. I never will. 

Great leaders have great following

I’m not saying whether it is right or wrong, but a leader’s ability to draw people and get them to ‘follow through’ is a skill set not many have. Whether it is in the message or the reward, great leaders manage to build following, a ‘posse’. What posse are you nurturing?

I’ve seen leaders talk about success in front of million-euro homes, cars, jets; Talk of growth in terms of accumulation of wealth, assets, and luxury goods, yet hardly any talk about growth in terms of better environment, health care, or education. So how can we be surprised that the people we preach to are doing exactly the same thing.

But times are changing.

People are changing and they will seek to change their leaders.

Is your leadership up for a change?

So if you don’t like what you’re seeing, and if – maybe – you’re not entirely happy with what your legacy looks like, then – maybe – it’s time to stop doing what it is that you don’t like seeing and change the way you lead.

Leadership is not about being always strong, wise, rich, powerful, right. 

Leadership is about accepting you’ve F’ed up and doing something about it, irrespective of what “the Jones’ will say”, but because you know it’s the right thing to do for today and most importantly, tomorrow.

I’ve F’ed up many times and will probably do so many times more, but what I won’t do is complain about stuff I am not ready to do something about.

If I don’t like the way our team is working, I will make myself available to them to help sort it out. 

If I don’t like the way our clients are responding to the work we do with them, I will sit with them to make sure we are on the same page over and over again.

If I don’t like the way I am reacting to what is around me, I will stop and look at myself in the mirror and say this is not on. I will pet my dogs for calm and clarity, and I will change perspective. 

Because I am better than that.

Are you?