“I Don’t Know” is not an Excuse: Leaders Practicing What They Teach
As a leader, manager or business-owner, it can be tempting to assume your employees and colleagues on board with the company’s goals and values. Though a healthy level of trust is required for productive work relationships, a leader cannot bury their head in the proverbial sand: they are not only a role model; they are also responsible for the well being and success of their department or business. Therefore, knowing what is going on in your business – from employee relationships to customer satisfaction – is of the outmost importance.Good Leaders:
- Lead by example, are role models for behavior, standards and work ethic for their colleagues and employees.
- Know what is going on at the ground level of the company: from employee satisfaction to the day-to-day challenges, it is a leader’s responsibility to be in-the-know.
- Take ownership of the principles and ideals of the organization so that they reflect the leader’s values.
- Maintain a healthy cultural climate and resolve issues that can affect the organization.
- Practice active listening, sound judgement and prioritization for effective decision-making.
- Take accountability, admit when they have made a mistake, sincerely apologize and employ a solutions-oriented attitude.
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- Forget that their behaviour and attitude sets the example for colleagues and employees and hold others to a higher standard.
- Are unaware of the cultural climate at their organization.
- Use “I didn’t know” as an excuse.
- Expect others to resolve problems unaided and without incentives or consequences, thereby allowing bad feelings to fester.
- Shirk the responsibility of upholding the values and ideals of the organization or permit (through ignorance or passivity) others to undermine the institution’s principles.
- Cast blame and avoid being accountable.
Of course, even the most dedicated business owner cannot know everything that goes on in their business. As employees and co-workers, every adult is responsible for their own behaviour, but as a leader, the responsibility is amplified. The goal is to avoid wilful ignorance and instead to maintain open channels of communication to better understand the goings-on of the workplace. Leading by example is always the first and best way to show others not only what is expected of them, but also to create a healthy and honest workspace.