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Leaders can change the weather

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Lately, I’ve been in a lot of conversations with leaders about moving into more visible executive roles. One guy in a group recently summed it up by saying, “I change the weather.”

When I asked him to explain, he said he’s been noticing his team takes its cues from him and reflect whatever he’s projecting. If his outlook is sunny and bright, the organization is sunny and bright. If his outlook is stormy and cloudy, the weather in the organization is pretty much the same.

So, if you’re the boss, it’s worth thinking about what kind of weather system you’re creating. Warm front or cold front? Sunny and pleasant or stormy and blustery? How do these weather systems affect the team’s results?

If you’re interested in becoming a more effective leadership meteorologist, here are a few things to pay attention to:

Your energy level: Just like the sun, your energy probably has the biggest impact on the weather. Is it low, medium or high? Is it negative, neutral or positive? What combination of factors do you need to radiate to create the needed results?

Your choice of words: Have you noticed how excited TV weather forecasters get when there’s an impending blizzard or a hurricane? It’s like they want you to freak out and get frantic. Your choice of words matter. What kind of climate are you creating with your words? Is that the kind of climate that will sustain long-term results?

Your predictability: Don’t you hate it when you go out dressed for a pleasant day and then the sky opens up and you’re caught in a drenching rain? We appreciate accurate predictions of the weather. Likewise, your team appreciates some measure of predictability in how you’re going to show up as a leader.

Your visibility: Most of us like days when the visibility goes on for miles. It’s easier to see down the road and navigate toward the destination. For leaders, visibility comes into play in a couple of important ways. One is how clear and transparent you are about what’s important to you and what gets rewarded. Another is how visible you make yourself to the organization. Weather savvy leaders pay attention to their visibility.

Your protective cover: To avoid sunburn, you need some protection in the form of a hat or sun block. To avoid getting burned at work, you need a leader who offers some protective cover. What are you doing as a leader to let your team members know that you’ve got their backs?

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