Article


Flakey Leadership
Behavior outside the boundaries will cost you
By Rob Marchalonis
Date Published: 6/1/2017

Nothing impacts an organization more than leaders and their leadership. If you are the founder, owner, or a member of senior leadership, I believe that how you lead will be the single biggest determinant of your success or failure. With this in mind, am I stating the obvious if I caution you to avoid flakey behavior. You would think so, but I see it all too often in public, in private, and in workplaces.

To me, flakey behaviors are those at or beyond the edge of relational and social decency and respect. I’m no psychologist, but I observe and work with a lot of leaders. There appears to be a range or spectrum of behavior in workplace settings that results in corresponding good or bad outcomes. Leaders who find a way to behave within the boundaries of what motivates and fulfills others generally enjoy better outcomes. Many achieve this through a style that balances both mindful and heartfelt leadership. By mindful I mean wise, innovative, organized, and disciplined. By heartfelt I mean sensitive to their relationships, communication, and team building. When leaders drift outside relational boundaries and exhibit behaviors that are perceived by others to be rude, disrespectful, selfish, erratic, unpredictable, or reckless, bad outcomes are sure to follow. In these situations, a person’s position, title, or hubris sometimes gives them a false sense of power, authority, and freedom.

Have you watched reality TV lately? One of the interesting and even educational aspects of reality television is the raw display of human behavior, interaction, leadership … and flakiness. Certainly, the producers of these shows are on the lookout for fringe behavior and we can only imagine how much of this is provoked, edited, or even staged. Regardless, the main attraction of reality TV appears to be the view it provides of humanity—and occasionally us.

Outsiders sometimes perceive leadership positions to be privileged, lucrative, or even glamorous. In truth, many of those benefits are offset by the enormous responsibility, effort, and risk that come with the job. Being a leader is often a difficult, high-impact, high-visibility role. With that in mind, here are some simple points I share with leaders to help them lead with decency and respect, and avoid flakiness:

• Manage your emotions.

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