The Problem of Power
Image of one of our grandsons.
The more powerful you are the more serious your expression. I call it the Rule of the Serious Face.
Powerful people don’t smile.
Some organizations coach top leaders not to smile. It’s true!
The “un” of powerful leaders:
- Unhappy. (Or at least, unsmiling.)
The higher you go in some organizations
the more “Un” you become.
“Un” leaders, sadly, are unaligned with behaviors expected of others.
When mid-level and front-line employees behave like top brass, everyone wonders what’s bothering them. “What’s wrong with Bob, he hasn’t smiled all day?” “What’s bothering Brenda, she seems so guarded?”
Curing “un” leadership:
Behave like you expect others to behave. How simple is that?
This isn’t the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. This is the “I’m no better than you” Rule:
Do as you expect others to do.
If you expect others to smile, smile. How hard is that?
Stop telling; start modeling. Stop granting yourself exemptions.
Put your feet on the ground;
pull your nose out of the air.
OK, leadership is serious. Unguarded words, for example, may cause turmoil and tension. Serious expressions reflect position and power. You’re important. I get it.
- Amp up pleasantness and remain connected with problems?
- Move toward others rather than away?
- Express emotion without becoming emotional?
- Patting someone on the shoulder and smiling?
- Bringing snacks to the department on the first floor?
- Writing a thank you note?
- Having just a little fun?
Leaders who are full of themselves
don’t have room for others.
Organizations reflect their leaders. Unhappy leaders build unhappy organization.
Bonus material: “7 Powerful Ways to Enhance Your Power“
What “Un” could be added to the “Un” of top leaders?
How can leaders remain human?
Join me on March 27 for a conversation with a leader who retained his humanity even as he rose to the top of Campbell Soup Co.