While leaders of countries and companies are compensated heavily for their roles, being a leader is not easy. You are faced with pressure within and out of the organization. Your staff is not happy and you spend more than 50% of your time dealing with Human Resource issues despite the fact that you may have Human Resources Department. Your customers are not happy with you and you are expected to respond to every phone call or message they sent you.
Everybody who is not in your role believes they have the solutions to deal with the problems in your country or company but when they are given an opportunity to lead the country or the company, they appear to be no different from their predecessors.
What do you think are the main issues? What would you do differently if you were the leader of your country or company? Based on my experience as a leader, I want to address in this article some things I think leaders should do differently.
Sometimes we make so many promises to the electorate, the employees and the customers. Sometimes these promises may not be intentional but sometimes they are in order to make people feel good. However, after a period of time, the promises made were not done but we keep providing hope to people when we know some of the promises made will not be delivered.
Understand how things work
Leaders need to understand how things work in the Government and the Business before they take on that role. If you understand you will realize that there are so many internal controls and protocols you must follow before you can make a decision. You will also discover that some things are beyond your control and requires approval beyond your role. Once you discover how things work, let the electorate, the employees and the customers know how things work. Many of us still do not know how Government operates. Some politicians mislead people into believing they can work out something for them whether it is a job or a contract when they know there is procurement Board and there is a HR committee respectively. However, with that said, if you are a leader and you realize the process is complicated then be proactive in making the process simple.
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is that they do not communicate effectively. Leaders must communicate and do so frequently. People should not be hearing about what is happening from a third party. Stop taking people and things for granted. Update the people and staff regularly at least on a quarterly basis. Find different ways to communicate with people. Not everyone has a facebook account so communicating via social media is inadequate. Town Hall meetings and staff meetings are also essential.
Do not discriminate
I know it is easy sometimes to engage only with the people that support you. However, as a leader especially a Government leader, do not focused just on the people that you know supported your party. You can demonstrate this by appointing people from both sides of the political fences on Boards. Do not discriminate against those individuals that constructively criticize you. Encourage people to be free to express how they feel. Sometimes those criticisms will make you a better leader.
I know leaders will not be able to please everybody but listen to the concerns that individuals have. Some of those concerns may be the voices of the majority. Stop acting like you know everything.
While the job of a leader is challenging, I believe that your leadership skills can be improved significantly if leaders communicate effectively, listen, be honest, understand how things work and do not discriminate against people. If you do these things, the satisfaction level from people will improve.