We’ve often heard “beware the Ides of March” but do you know where the saying came from? “Beware the Ides of March” was a warning given by a mysterious seer to Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. before he was assassinated. Due to his overbearing and arrogant leadership, the Senate fired him from his position by stabbing him 23 times. Now as a leader, you won’t have to worry about your team conducting such a striking revolt (thankfully). However, poor leadership in tough times can still create havoc, waste money, create doubt, kill projects and generally make a mess of things.
To prevent having your own “Ides of March” moment, there are three things that leaders should never do:
Never expect from others what you aren’t willing to show first. Do not expect your people to be enthusiastic if you’re not. Don’t expect them to be high performing, solution-oriented warriors who are ready for any battles ahead if you’re not already there. This is not about perfection; this is about the most effective form of leadership under the sun – leadership by example. Instead of preaching to our people and beating them over the head with words (no matter how good they may be) we must instead set an example worthy of followership! If we don’t do this, we set ourselves up for failure and our people up for frustration. Set a great example and see how inspired and action-oriented your people can be.
Never fail to give expectations to your people. If we don’t let our people know what we expect from them, we are asking them to do the impossible and read our minds. If you care about your team, let them know what you expect from them when it comes to standards of performance, responsibilities, timelines and policies – and then let them go to it! Don’t micromanage and tell them how to do every little thing. Give them your expectations and let them be empowered to creatively achieve them. You’ll build a team of warriors that are resilient, confident and feel great because they are pleasing their leader and meeting his/her expectations.
Never be unethical – acting unethically can be the quickest way to completely ruin what I call “the magical mystical glue” that keeps teams together. I’m referring to trust. If you make a mistake, fix it, apologize if appropriate, learn the wisdom and move on – that is the best any of us can do. To lead any other way, we run the risk of considering unethical behavior to be an option. No matter how easy it may seem, how small the lie, don’t sacrifice your integrity! Trust takes time to build and it can evaporate in an instant. When people trust you, they’ll follow you through the fires of tough times, bad economy, and the storms of doubt and fear. If they don’t trust you, they won’t follow you to the bathroom.
Heed these warnings as a leader and you won’t have to worry about your own team having an Ides of March moment. Instead, you can focus on being the seer in your office that predicts the winning teams during March Madness.