For some of us, one of the good leadership qualities we value most is being a leader everybody on the staff likes. We don’t just want to be the boss. We want to be everybody’s friend.
Our open door policy is an open invitation to the staff to dole out their approval of us both as managers and as people. We’re willing to give any idea a full hearing if we can win over the speaker. “No” is not in our vocabulary because we’re so anxious to hear “yeses” from our underlings.
Good leadership qualities are winning qualities, but they don’t always mean that you have to win over every staffer; or win every argument, conflict, or confrontation. They are winning qualities when:
- They help every member of the team understand his or her individual value as a part of the team.
- They sharpen the focus of the whole team on a vision they can all buy into without reservation.
- The professional aspirations of a modest staffer are as valued and respected as the goals of the most ambitious worker.
- Staff members don’t feel that they have to compete with each other simply to be heard, recognized, or valued by their superiors.
- The company’s successes are recognized and acknowledged as the fruit of everyone’s labors.
- The boss’s door doesn’t have to be physically open for everyone to know that it’s “open.”
Those of us who constantly need the approval of others may be compensating for some emotional deficits of which we’re unaware. Indeed a lack of self-awareness [the “what” that makes us who we are]; and a lack of self-acceptance may strain our professional relationships, and make our climb up the corporate ladder far more treacherous than it has to be.
Taking a step back for self-reflection in order to recognize unhealthy behavioral patterns like approval seeking may seem scary. But it’s actually a healthy first step toward developing some of the good leadership qualities you’ll need in order to see the bigger picture–the one that extends beyond your own emotional needs.
In the workplace, there is no “thumbs up” emoticon to pat us on the back every time we do something well, and we shouldn’t need one. The fruit of our work is proof is our success. Being part of a team is much like being a part of a machine. Good leadership qualities are the chains and connectors that transform an assortment of parts into one fully operational machine.
As long as your share of the work runs smoothly, and everyone else does their part, the entire machine will run smoothly–and the fruit or the evidence of your success is the company’s bottom line and healthy relationships with your colleagues.