• 10 Behaviors That Generate Powerful Results

    Author(s): By Thomas Davis, DNAP, MAE, CRNA

    People are always looking for an edge; a way to position themselves a half step ahead of the crowd.  To that end, they throw caution to the wind, use money or power to get their way, and rationalize their extreme behavior because it justifies the results that are achieved.   For example, Lori Laughlin made the headlines when she was caught paying thousands of dollars in what is now referred to as the college admission cheating scam.

    Leaders at all levels who are climbing the chain of command can fall into the same trap as Lori by using their current position to bully their way to the next level.  Ironically, instead of positioning themselves for promotion, their bullying creates a toxic workplace environment that becomes a roadblock and prevents promotion.  Rather than flexing political muscle or throwing money at a problem, the savvy leader wins the day with behavior that costs nothing.   Start on the road to success by eliminating negative behaviors and quickly follow with positive actions to affirm and unite your team.

    Eliminate the negative

    Travis Bradberry, author of emotional intelligence 2.0 notes several behaviors that generate ill will must be avoided by those who want to advance in their career. Activities to be shunned include:

    • Overworking people
    • Lack of empathy for co-workers
    • Taking credit for other’s work
    • Banning socializing / punishing fun
    • Making stupid rules
    • Letting others struggle / withholding help
    • Controlling the agenda / ignoring feedback

    Rather than using heavy handed authoritarian leadership to bully those on your team, ease up and remember that the most effective leadership behaviors are free.

    It does not take a heavy hand, threats, and bullying to get the results that you want. An article in the archives of titled Scout for a promotion leveraged the boy/girl scout code of conduct with hot tips for grassroots leaders who want to create a preferred workplace  Similarly, an article by Molly Fletcher posted in Linkedin lists behaviors that require zero talent, are cost free, and enhance your position within the organization.  Combined, the two articles are a treasure chest of behaviors that are based on common sense and reap huge rewards.  Incorporate these principles into your leadership style and you will become a preferred boss.

    1. Be on time.  Legendary basketball coach John Wooden had three rules for his team and one was punctuality.  He felt that being on time was an overt display of respect for others so he always started and finished workouts on time.  Being where you need to be in a timely manner creates a foundation of trust and finishing on time respects the personal needs of your team members solidifies their sense of being valued.
    2. Demonstrate an honest work ethic.  The most trusted grassroot leaders know the job and frequently pitch in when needed.  Schedules, payroll, and supplies are important however working shoulder to shoulder on the front line to ensure that the mission is accomplished sends a powerful message and contributes to team morale.
    3. Give full effort.  Leadership is not an 8 hour per day job, rather, it is ongoing.  The best leaders pitch in and do whatever needed to support team members including responding to team member’s personal issues even when they arise in off hours.  Tireless work to guarantee that goals are met reflects positively on the team as well as the leader.
    4. Use appropriate body language.  How you show up in the morning matters, as does your aura that others perceive throughout the day.  Your appearance and behavior sets the tone for your team so stand tall, put a smile on your face and some pep in your step.  Let your image portray you as a competent and capable person.
    5. Increase your personal energy level.  Personal wellness is important for you and for each of your team members.  Adequate rest, healthy nutrition and focus on goals all combine to boost your energy, stamina, and positions you as a positive role model for your team.   Your energy level is contagious and will elevate the morale of your team.  Conversely, dragging in with low energy and a negative attitude is equally contagious and will draw your team down with you.
    6. Improve your listening skill.   Move beyond forming your rebuttal while listening and focus on hearing to understanding the message that is being sent.  It’s more important to grasp the other point of view than to defend yours.  You don’t learn anything new while you are talking; you only learn new information when you are receptive and listening.
    7. Focus on emotional intelligence.   Accept and appreciate how your words and actions affect the members of your team.   Face to face discussions, preferably without masks, allows you to view expressions and judge the reaction of others.  Email and texting quickly transmit information but blocks your awareness of the person’s emotional response.
    8. Be receptive to feedback.  Creating diversity in the workplace includes encouraging diversity of thought and learning from one another.  You hire the best and brightest people for your team and now it’s time to showcase their talents and encourage their creativity by being receptive to their ideas.  By actively listening, you may find novel ways to solve a problem and leave team members feeling as if they are valued.
    9. Role model loyalty.  Loyalty is a two-way process and starts with the leader being loyal both individually and collectively to team members.  Never take credit for the work of others and never throw a team member under the bus just to save your ego.  When you establish that you have their back, they will have yours.
    10. Have fun.   Nobody says that work can’t be fun.  Celebrate birthdays and holidays by decorating the break room and supplying a cake or other food.  Reward the team when goals are achieved.  Sponsor quarterly events that promote teambuilding and create and opportunity for team members to know one another outside of the work environment.

    Leadership can be lonely especially for an authoritarian boss who feels that success or failure rests exclusively on his/her shoulders.  Rather, use the tips above to connect with and promote the talents of your team members.  Being interested in the team rather than forcing them to be interested in you opens the door to diverse thinking and new solutions to old problems.  Being a great leader does not arise from your knowing all the answers, instead great leadership arises from the trust that develops when team members feel valued, and their ideas are rewarded.   Replace authoritarian power with common sense and watch your team soar to new heights.  It’s true, the best approach to leadership is free.

    Tom S. Davis, DNAP, CRNA, MAE, is the former Chief of the Division of Nurse Anesthesia at The Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and former Chief CRNA at (Baylor) Scott and White, Main OR in Temple, TX. Col. Davis, USAF (Ret.), is well-known throughout the Nurse Anesthesia community for his leadership in clinical anesthesia, including developing the first distance education model while on the graduate faculty at Kansas University Medical Center. Recognized for his expertise in team-building across department lines, Tom is a sought-after speaker, educator, author, and leadership trainer. Follow @procrnatom on Twitter.

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