Reflections on Leadership: How Not to be a Jerk – Part 3

Weekly Inspiration

How Not to be a Jerk Part 3

I am publishing this week’s Reflections on Leadership a day late. I am doing this because yesterday was a big day and I had a special blog post to share. But I still wanted to share part 3 of my series about how not to be a jerk.

Just as a reminder this series is based on my new favorite (and made up) quote.

“Leadership is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re a jerk!”

Let’s start by pausing to recap what I have shared so far. In the first post I talked about how leaders can avoid being a jerk by treating others as equals. Last week I talked about how leaders need to be approachable so they don’t discourage people from interacting with them.

In this week’s final edition I am going to talk about the things you can do as a leader to best be of service to others. When you are serving others you definitely can’t be a jerk!

  • Think. The Focus 3 Team who created the R Factor talk a lot about Above the Line behavior. This behavior is based on deliberate leadership behavior versus operating on autopilot which often leads to B-C-D behaviors (blame, complain, defend). When leaders pause to think “what does this situation require of me” versus just acting on impulse the results are almost always better. If you stop to think about the situation at hand and react accordingly it is much more difficult to be a jerk.
  • Be honest with yourself and others. Leaders are only as good as their word. When a leader lies to people they are absolutely a jerk. If you are honest with those who you are serving you are taking an important first step to not being a jerk. Don’t forget that being honest with others starts with being honest with yourself first. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and be honest about both!
  • Ask for help. When you are honest with yourself you know where you could use a hand to offset your weaknesses to get the best results. Use this knowledge and ask for help. When you approach somebody and ask for help you are showing them 2 important things: you trust them enough to be vulnerable and they matter to you. Asking for help not only gets more done but it also goes a long way to building stronger relationships and avoiding being seen as a jerk who goes it alone.
  • Focus on your own growth, development and humility. Invest time and energy in your own growth, particularly your growth as a leader, pays huge dividends with your team and helps you address your areas of opportunity. Plus showing others that you care enough and have enough humility to work on your own development models the behavior that you are looking for in them. Again it is hard to be a jerk when you are openly trying to improve your skills to be a better leader.
  • Teach and help others grow. As you are working to develop your own skills you should also be helping your team do the same. By teaching others, mentoring and finding other development opportunities you are showing your team that you are investing in them. When is the last time you thought somebody investing in you was a jerk?
  • Say kind words and tell people what they are great at. People need positive reinforcement. People need affirmation to know what they are good at. People want to be treated as though they are special … because they are. Take a minute to say a kind word to people. When you see somebody do something they are good at then tell them. Life is too short not to be nice and complementary… but make sure you are being honest and not just blowing smoke.
  • Show your team that they are important to you, you would be nowhere without them. I had a boss once who got a big promotion in the company. As he was sharing the good news with us he thanked us each individually and actually shed a few tears. He explained that it was us who made the promotion possible and that he owed his success to us. This is the case for every leader. Your success is not your success alone and you owe it to the people who are getting the results on your behalf. Never forget to show your team that they are important, remind them that you owe your success to them and that you aren’t a jerk who believes you could be successful without them.

Call to Action: first off, thank you so much for reading my How Not to be a Jerk series. I appreciate you spending some of your precious time reading my thoughts on how to be a better leader. Please try some of the tactics I have shared in this 3-part series and try to make it easier to be a good leader.

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a comment on this post, a share on social media or message me directly.