Issue Number 21: Leadership and the Power of Reflection

When a leader is replaced, realignments can occur quickly and can result in dramatic changes in corporate culture. A friend once worked in an organization in which the leader was a gregarious fellow who exuded both confidence and compassion. Morale in the organization was high and productivity even higher. People were considerate of each other and their customers. Hundreds of people attended his retirement party.

His successor was the polar opposite. He kept to himself and was constantly on the lookout for plots and enemies. He was impatient, confrontational and deceptive. In a remarkably short time people began to follow his example. They became more guarded, more argumentative and less willing to work together. Predictably, morale and productivity deteriorated and, since this attitude was reflected in the way they treated customers, customer complaints increased.

This is the result of the power of reflection. We often think it is in our best interests to reflect the habits, attitudes and mannerisms of our leaders. As a leader, you can use that to your advantage, but don’t forget it is not a one-way street. People take themselves everywhere they go.

In the words of author and diarist Anais Nin: “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” People will interpret what you say and do based on their own experience, but you can influence the environment in which those interpretations take place. Knowing that, it makes sense to create, or at least contribute to, an environment which provides a foundation for individual and corporate success through your example.

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