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Bosses Behaving Badly

Leadership comes with responsibility, but does that extend beyond the workplace? Can you ever be yourself outside 9 to 5?

Tuesday 21 April 2015

The angel on my right shoulder says . . .

“Remember who you are Mark.  Be on your best behavior.  People will be watching you.  You’re part of the leadership team now”.

The devil on my left shoulder says . . .

“Just relax Mark.  You’ve worked hard and you deserve to enjoy yourself.  It’s not like you’ll embarrass yourself.  Don’t be so uptight, you’re not at work now”. 

Earlier this week the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was caught skolling a beer with a group of footballers at a Sydney pub. Now I am not writing this blog to judge Mr Abbott, and really it’s all a bit of a storm in a tea cup (or is that a schooner).  However the fact that he was “caught out” doing something which some may view as inappropriate got me thinking about workplace leaders and whether they can take the opportunity to let their guard down and be themselves when they are not in the workplace but are with colleagues.

Keeping It Real

As people move into leadership roles their ability to influence others increases not only with their positional power but also their personal power.

An element of personal power involves one’s likability, trustworthiness and the level of respect people have for the leader (referent power).  This is an extremely important aspect of leadership – even more so than a job title. This opens up a whole other discussion on likability but let’s save that for another post.

The question I pose here though is should a leader monitor his/her behavior 24/7 being always mindful of the image they are projecting or should they just throw caution to the wind, be who they are and keep it real?

Will people like the “real” leader or are they expecting something different because they are a leader.

Personally I think the answer is . . . it depends.  It depends on the organisation’s culture and the leaders values.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not for a minute suggesting that the captain of a football team should encourage and participate in the drunken parties and misbehaviour that some clubs seem to culturally condone.  In fact, the said captain must play a role in changing such a culture.

What I am suggesting is that even when they are “off duty” a leader must walk a fine line.  The line between

a) being liked and accepted and

b) raising standards to create an effective and productive organisation.

In some instances points a & b above may not be at odds, though in others they certainly are.

So when a leader is “off duty” I think that following the points below may worthwhile following:

Being A Role Model Leader Off The Job

  • Be Relaxed – show your lighter side
  • Don’t drink to excess – know your limit
  • Be humorous but not offensive
  • If you are an introvert, make an effort to socialise
  • Be honest
  • Accept responsibility for your actions
  • Have high standards and expect the same of others
  • Have fun

I’d be interested in your thoughts, so please email me. 

Do you know how you behavior impacts your leadership? As part of our leadership and executive coaching we provide guidance on how to be an effective leader.  Please feel free to email mark@intelligentperformance.com.au or use the Contact Us link on our website to find out how we can help you,

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