After decades of working for and with people in leadership positions, I have concluded that all leaders need to take a stand for excellence. Recently a thirty-five year old nonprofit director client complained that two of her staff were not meeting certain very important job related standards. When I asked her how long this has been going on, she hesitated before saying quietly: “probably more than six months.”
At that point, my job as a coach was to find out exactly what has been preventing her from standing up for the established standards. So I invited her to talk to me a little about that. What followed was disappointing but not surprising. This woman proceeded to share her fears around making employees angry. She told me she didn’t want to provoke their anger because she believed she couldn’t deal with it—that it was easier to stay frustrated over the fact that the standards weren’t being met than to confront the issue directly. As a result, a couple of staff persons continued to slack. And the rest of the staff knew it.
That is not credible leadership. Sometimes leaders must take risks that move them outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes leaders have to do things they’d rather not do. Where should YOU be taking a stand but you’re shying away from it? Where do you need to take stand in the name of better service delivery, stronger programming, or general productivity?
My client realized that she needed to face a big personal gremlin. It was time to look at why she feared employee wrath to the extent she did and time to walk through that fear. To stay in integrity in her leadership role this “coaching work” was absolutely essential.